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The European Union must not close itself off, but must contribute to the stability of its neighbourhood, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee said in Bucharest. “This is what’s at stake in the European parliamentary elections: that the EU must devote closer attention to its eastern partner countries and the Western Balkan states,” Zsolt Németh told Hungarian public media during a break in a meeting of EU foreign affairs committees. As regards the bloc’s Eastern Partnership, Németh underlined the importance of supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in a way that allows the EU to devote adequate attention to the observance of the rule of law and respect for human and minority rights there. “It’s in our interest that the interests of the Transcarpathian Hungarian community are not curtailed,” Németh said. “In recent months, several Western countries expressed bafflement as to why we are so stubborn and why we can’t understand the geopolitical stakes concerning Ukraine’s current situation,” he explained. “We do understand it and consider it important to guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but at the same time we also think that it’s crucial to make sure that the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians and Ukraine’s minority groups are not harmed.” This is why, he said, Hungary insists on its veto power and does not support the introduction of a qualified majority-based decision-making mechanism in connection with the EU’s foreign and security policy. “The EU’s left-liberal opinion leaders want to introduce a qualified majority-based decision making-mechanism for the bloc’s foreign and security policy matters,” he said. “But the countries that think in terms of a Europe of nations don’t accept this. Hungary, too, says that member states can’t be stripped of their veto power when it comes to foreign and security policy,” Németh added.