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4 Jan, 2019 13:48

Hungary’s FM blasts Sweden’s ‘arrogant’ claim that Budapest endangers EU unity

Hungary’s FM blasts Sweden’s ‘arrogant’ claim that Budapest endangers EU unity

Hungary’s Foreign Minister fired back at comments aired by his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom, who recently claimed that Budapest’s anti-migrant stance threatens EU unity.

Peter Szijjarto blasted Wallstrom’s “arrogant” assertion that Hungary is a “problematic” country which has prevented the European Union from “speaking with a single voice.” Wallstrom made the disparaging remarks during an interview with Swedish national daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

In a statement that was posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website, Szijjarto argued that his pro-immigration Swedish counterpart has “steered Sweden to a state of internal political uncertainty” and has no business criticizing Hungary.

He noted how Wallstrom felt comfortable attacking Hungary for allegedly being a thorn in the EU’s side, even as her own country remains divided on Stockholm’s pro-migrant stance. In contrast, Szijjarto said, Hungary’s conservative, anti-immigrant government under Viktor Orban has entered its third consecutive term with majority support from the people.

“We know that pro-immigration forces cannot tolerate any opinion other than their own, but we can reassure the Swedish foreign minister: we will preserve Hungary as a Hungarian country under any circumstances”, the minister stressed.

Hungary and Sweden have repeatedly sparred over migration. In August, Szijjarto summoned the Swedish ambassador to explain criticisms directed at Budapest made by Sweden’s Minister for Migration Helene Fritzon. Relations between Budapest and Brussels have been similarly strained due to sharp differences on immigration policy.

In September, EU parliament voted to trigger the “nuclear option” Article 7, which allows for punitive measures against Hungary over its migration policies and alleged “media suppression.” Budapest described the move as “petty revenge” aimed at punishing the country’s “stance against illegal migration.”

Also on rt.com EU Parliament greenlights move to trigger ‘nuclear option’ Article 7 against Hungary

For its part, Stockholm’s staunchly pro-immigrant views have led to political upheaval back home. Sweden has accepted more migrants per capita than any other European Union member state, welcoming some 163,000 asylum seekers to the country in 2015 – a move which polarized many voters. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) capitalized on growing anti-migrant sentiment to secure their biggest-ever faction in parliament during September elections. The pro-immigration Social Democrats, on the other hand, suffered their worst electoral defeat in a century.

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