Hungarys Foreign Minister fired back at comments aired by his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom, who recently claimed that Budapests anti-migrant stance threatens EU unity.
Peter Szijjarto blasted Wallstroms “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 Ministrys 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 EUs side, even as her own country remains divided on Stockholms pro-migrant stance. In contrast, Szijjarto said, Hungarys 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 Swedens 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 countrys “stance against illegal migration.”
For its part, Stockholms 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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