As a result of Ursula von der Leyen’s handling of post-Brexit negotiations with Britain, a significant rift has emerged within the EU. A member state has accused her of endangering Europe out of “Brexit retribution.”
Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister of Hungary, criticized Brussels after having his first conversations with James Cleverly since he was appointed foreign secretary in September.
After speaking at a symposium on violence against women in conflict that was organized by the Foreign Office, the two met for negotiations in London, where Mr. Cleverly found his first ally within the EU.
Following his meetings with Mr. Cleverly, the Hungarian foreign minister gave an exclusive newspaper interview to Express.co.uk and expressed his belief that too many individuals in Brussels are driven by a desire for “Brexit retribution.”
Mr. Szijjártó made it clear that Hungary is on Britain’s side with regard to contentious talks on mending the Northern Ireland protocol and other issues moving forward, and he also discussed his country’s various positions on Ukraine with Mr. Cleverly.
The Hungarian minister made light of the fact that, since taking office in 2014, he had now met with six UK counterparts.
We place a lot of importance on the discussions between London and Brussels, he said.
They should be resolved in a way that is founded on respect for one another and that could allow for logical and successful cooperation.
A major fracture has opened in the EU over Ursula von der Leyen’s handling of post-Brexit talks with Britain as a member state has accused of of harming Europe because of a desire for “Brexit revenge”. Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó hit out at Brussels after he held his first talks with James Cleverly since he became foreign secretary in September. The two met for talks in London after speaking at a conference on violence against women in conflict organised by the Foreign Office as Mr Cleverly made his first ally within the EU.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk in a rare newspaper interview following his discussions with Mr Cleverly, the Hungarian foreign minister said he believed too many people in Brussels are motivated by a desire for “Brexit revenge.”
Mr Szijjártó, who also discussed his country’s different position on Ukraine with Mr Cleverly, made it clear that Hungary is on Britain’s side regarding problematic talks on fixing the Northern Ireland protocol and other issues going forward.
The Hungarian minister joked that he is now on his sixth UK counterpart since taking office in 2014.
He said: “We attach a lot of significance to the debates between London and Brussels. They should be settled in a way that is based on mutual respect and which could make possible to have rational and effective cooperation.
“What the European Union should push for now is to try to minimise the loss caused by Brexit.
“But instead of a rational and mutual respect approach what we are seeing now is Brussles is making steps which bring us further away not closer.”
Hungary has sided with the UK in its Brexit dispute with Brussels (Image: GETTY)
The minister said it as wrong to exlcude the UK from the Horizon Project on research and innovation as well as failing to take a reasonable approach with the Northern Ireland protocol.
“I told [Mr Cleverly] we will continue the consultation with Brussels in rdr to push the EU from inside to behave in a pragmatic and efficient manner towards the UK.”
He added: “It is no question that they [Brussels] still have the revenge because they felt personally insulted by the fact that the British people stood up and took their liberty to make their own decisions about their own future.
“It is very strange for the bureaucrats in Brussels for a nation to have its own will and if it has its own will then it expresses it and represents it.”
Hungary has its own dispute with Brussels after the European Parliament voted that funds should be withheld after it refused to take central dictats from the European Commission.
Mr Szijjártó pointed out that like the UK before it left the EU, Hungary takes the view that national sovereignty should not be overcome by a desire for federalism in europe.
He said: “We struggle allot because of this approach in Brussels.
“When we try to put forward a rational, a common sense based issue, an issue based on national interest, we are immediately stigmatised.
“By being called allies of Putin, agents of the Russians, retrograde, dictatorial, fascist, anti-democratic whatever.”