Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó has revealed that his government blames the European Union for the British people’s vote for Brexit in 2016, and admitted it will inflict a huge blow to the bloc in economic and security terms, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News.
“We regret it a lot, the decision of the British people [to vote for Brexit],” the Hungarian statesman told Breitbart’s Deputy Political Editor Amanda House.
“We never judged it, we never criticised; we respected it — because it’s only the British people who are having the right to make a decision about the future of their own country — but we regret it because, with the UK leaving, Europe will be faced with additional economic and political challenges which are totally, let’s say unnecessary,” Szijjártó added.
“The UK is the fifth-largest economy of the globe, second-largest in the EU, a member of the [United Nations] Security Council, [has] one of the biggest armies in Europe, one of the best intelligence networks — so losing the UK is a huge deficit or harm to the European Union,” he admitted.
Szijjártó described how, from the pro-sovereignty perspective of his government, it would be a blow to lose a country which had “always represented very rational positions in the political debates on the European Union… they were sovereigntist, definitely, they were calling for more competitiveness, less bureaucracy, an increased role for national parliaments, very rational positions.”
This British position enjoys little support within Brussels, however, with the United Kingdom having found itself in a minority in European Council votes more often than any other EU member-state in the years prior to the Brexit referendum.
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In contrast with top eurocrats such as Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council who recently asserted that there was a “special place in Hell” for Brexit campaigners and suggested they had led the British public astray, the Hungarian foreign minister was clear that the EU itself was the blame for Brexit.
“I have to tell you that we blame the European Commission for the decision of the British people back in 2016, because we think the European Commission could and should have done much more in order to help [then-Prime Minister David Cameron] to convince the British people that it would be much better to stay than leave,” he said.
Cameron went to Brussels ahead of the EU referendum seeking meaningful reforms on contentious issues like Free Movement of People, which saw a lopside influx of effectively unvetted and mostly low-skilled migrants to the United Kingdom, undermining public safety and wages in working-class occupations.
The only halfway substantive concessions he was able to bring back, however, were a temporary break on new migrants’ ability to claim some benefits — unable to be activated without the EU’s consent — and a post-dated pledge to offer Britain a nominal exemption from “ever-closer union” in an unspecified future treaty.
Britain is currently scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29th, 2019.
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Watch Breitbart Deputy Political Editor Amanda House’s Interview with Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó in full here.