Cooperation with Brunei was a Missed Opportunity by the EU

During his visit to Brunei, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó outlined one of the significant goals of the upcoming Hungarian EU Presidency: to strengthen cooperation with dynamically developing regions worldwide, particularly Southeast Asia.

This visit marked the first time a Hungarian Foreign Minister had visited the sultanate, emphasizing its timeliness as Hungary prepares for the EU presidency. Minister Szijjártó stressed the importance of bolstering ties with rapidly developing regions, especially amidst challenges like the war in Ukraine, irrational economic decisions, and the politicization of critical issues.

Highlighting the economic dynamism of Southeast Asia, Mr. Szijjártó noted the region’s extraordinary growth rates in recent years.

He also pointed out Brunei’s forthcoming role in coordinating ASEAN’s relations with the EU, hinting at future collaboration between Hungary and Brunei.

In line with these objectives, two key goals were set: restarting negotiations on the EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and the CooperationAgreement between European Economic Community (EEC) and ASEAN Member States. Péter Szijjártó emphasized the mutual benefits of reducing trade barriers for both the EU and Hungary, given Hungary’s competitive products and services on the international stage. Regarding theCooperationAgreement between European Economic Community and ASEAN Member States, the Foreign Minister stressed its significance, highlighting the stalled negotiations a decade ago.

He criticized the EU’s failure to engage with the region, recognizing it as a missed opportunity.

Additionally, to foster people-to-people contacts, an agreement was signed to enable five Bruneian students to study at Hungarian universities on scholarships starting next academic year. Discussions also began on utilizing Hungarian technologies to enhance oil production efficiency and environmental friendliness in Brunei.

Concerning the war in Ukraine, Mr. Szijjártó acknowledged its global impact on inflation and energy prices.

Both Hungary and Brunei expressed their desire for a peaceful resolution to the conflict through diplomatic means, emphasizing the imperative to avoid nuclear escalation.

The Minister concluded by underscoring both countries’ commitment to peace and their belief that sanctions are ineffective. He urged against the politicization of international organizations and emphasized the danger of nuclear warfare, calling for responsible leadership in addressing global challenges.

Earlier in the day, Péter Szijjártó met with Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei and his local counterpart in Bandar Seri Begawan, further solidifying diplomatic ties between the two nations.

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Via MTI; Featured Image: Facebook / Szijjártó Péter

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