Hungary Urges EU to Agree ‘Extensive’ Free Trade Agreement with Brexit Britain


Hungary’s foreign minister has called for an “extensive and comprehensive” free trade deal between the European Union and Brexit Britain and criticised European leaders who seek to “take revenge” on the UK for voting to leave the bloc.

“It is in Hungary’s interests for the most extensive and comprehensive free trade agreement possible to come about between Great Britain and the European Union from the time when Great Britain exits the EU,” foreign minister Péter Szijjártó said at a meeting Tuesday with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt in New York City on the sidelines of the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly.

“It is in Hungary’s interests for the negotiations to definitely conclude with an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, Great Britain and the remaining European Union,” the Hungarian foreign minister said, backing up comments he had made over the summer that punishing the UK in Brexit negotiations would be “devastating” for the EU economy.

Mr. Szijjártó also condemned the “real or perceived goal” attributed to the European Commission “that we must take revenge on the British for exiting the EU and show them what a bad decision it was”, calling it “childish”.

“We must push this childish approach to the background and conclude the closest and most comprehensive possible agreement with the British in accordance with the interests of Europe,” he added.

The Hungarian minister’s approach backs that of the country’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, who was the lone voice at a summit of the EU nations’ 28 leaders in Salzburg, Austria, last week in offering friendship and cordiality to the UK in Brexit discussions.

Condemning “the other camp of the prime ministers” who are of the mind that the UK “must be punished and the British must suffer” for voting to leave the bloc, Mr Orbán said: “I don’t like that approach at all.”

“What we need is a fair Brexit and a good cooperation between the UK and the European Union in the future,” he added.

Mr. Szijjártó remarked Tuesday, however, that the “situation currently isn’t looking very good with relation to the successful closing of the exit negotiations”.

Last week, Eurocrats rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chequers proposal, mocking her, resulting in Mrs May making a surprise address to the British people where she indicated the UK will accelerate ‘No Deal’ Brexit preparations.

EU federalist French President Emmanuel Macron, who was said to have appealed to EU leaders to be tough on Brexit negotiations and has been accused of wanting to make the UK suffer, rejected May’s plans last week and branded politicians who were positive about Brexit as “liars”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, architect of the European migrant crisis, is also believed to have said in private that she wants Britain to “suffer a little bit” in negotiations, rejecting the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan on Tuesday.

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