Dubai: The European Union will be “much weaker” politically and economically if the United Kingdom leaves, Hungary’s Foreign Minister warned on Tuesday.
The United Kingdom will hold an “in or out” referendum on its EU membership in June after Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated new terms for his country last month.
“It’s in the interest of the European Union to keep the United Kingdom in … leaving would weaken the EU both politically and economically,” Hungary’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told reporters at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Szijjártó is the latest to come out against the UK leaving the EU. Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne reportedly said this week finance ministers and central bank chiefs at the G20 summit in China unanimously agreed an “out” vote is a major economic threat this year.
Hungary refugee vote
Hungary is set to hold its own referendum this year to decide whether the EU should be allowed to force the Central European country to accept refugees under a quota system.
The EU is facing its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War with millions entering the bloc from Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Szijjártó said “the beginning of autumn is realistic” for the vote.
In an effort to stem the number of refugees entering the country Hungary has closed its border with Serbia and Croatia, which has seen “practically zero migrants” enter the country, he said.
“Everyone speaks about a common European decision but this is not the case. We haven’t found a common European decision that’s why some member states had to apply their own national solutions like Hungary did.”
Szijjártó, who is in the UAE this week to take part in the first Hungary-UAE joint economic committee meeting, said he will discuss the refugee crisis with Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“We have to help those people who have to leave Syria to stay as close to their homes as possible in order to be able to return home as soon as possible,” Szijjártó said.