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Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that Hungary and Flanders held similar views on several dilemmas the European Union was facing and maintained “identical positions on strategic points”. Both nations have an interest in a strong EU and agree that the EU can only be strong if it is built on strong nations that preserve their identity and are proud of their cultural, historical and religious heritage, he told a joint press with Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon. He said they were in agreement that the EU must be able to protect itself and the defence of external borders was an important issue. Maintaining Schengen is also critical for the EU’s competitiveness and the effective protection of external borders is necessary for this, he added. Economic cooperation between Hungary and Flanders is significiant, he said, adding that the Flemish areas which function as important logistics and innovation centres account for three-quarters of Hungary-Belgium trade. Hungary and Flanders share an interest in free global trade and in as few obstacles as possible to EU-UK economic relations, Szijjártó said.
In response to a question, Szijjártó said a current Article 7 procedure against Hungary clearly represented an attack against the Hungarian government. However, Hungarian people support the government’s policies, as proven by the election results, and current policies therefore must be maintained, he added.
The Flemish politician noted the importance of cooperation between Hungary and Flanders, adding that they plan to develop even closer ties and there are many opportunities for this. He highlighted the importance of economic relations and noted that over a hundred Flemish companies had interests in Hungary. Education and cultural links are also important, as demonstrated by the current exhibition “Rubens, Van Dyck and the Splendour of Flemish Painting” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, he added. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met Jambon in his office.