Brussels should have isolated the conflict instead of globalizing it, Hungary’s top diplomat said
The European response to the Ukraine crisis is causing the world to fragment, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has claimed, adding that Budapest wants to see unifying action, like China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“Europe has given a very bad answer to the war in Ukraine that unfortunately seems to be ending up in a world being divided into blocs again,” the Hungarian diplomat told CNBC on the sidelines of the Belt and Road summit in Hong Kong.
Brussels “should have isolated this war, but instead of that the EU has globalized” it, he said in the interview broadcast on Wednesday.
Szijjarto argued that a lack of communication between opposing countries has led to them giving up on achieving peace, while states that benefit from good East-West relations – such as Hungary – have been hurt economically.
The minister contrasted this to how the BRI aims to bring the world together for mutual prosperity and security, which is why Hungary welcomes China’s presence.
He criticized rich Western European nations who are now talking about decoupling from the Chinese economy or “derisking” due to political concerns. Quietly, they seek Chinese investment just like small nations, Szijjarto said.
“They can be hypocritical, they can afford [it],” he argued.
Unlike those countries, Budapest states its foreign policy openly, the diplomat said, warning that if ‘decoupling’ with China were to succeed, it would “kill the European economy.”
The Hungarian government has been a vocal critic of the Western response to the Ukrainian conflict since its outset. It has called for peace talks, while speaking out against sanctioning Russia and arming Ukraine. Most EU nations, following in the US lead, have pledged to support Kiev for “as long as it takes” to defeat Moscow.
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