Hungary’s Top Diplomat Says EU Membership ‘Not in Question’

Hungary should remain a member of European Union, its top diplomat said, after leading ruling-party politicians revived a debate into whether the country should follow Britain example and exit the bloc.

With the EU’s executive commission targeting Hungary and Poland for what it says are breaches of its democratic values, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto acknowledged that his country was embroiled in “disputes” with the bloc and other member states on how to strengthen their alliance.

But he also said that Hungary, an EU member since 2004, should “stay that way.”

“Whether Hungary is part of the EU is not in question,” Szijjarto told a news conference after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga, one of the most moderate voices in euroskeptic Premier Viktor Orban’s cabinet, said once the country becomes a net contributor to the bloc’s budget toward the end of the decade, membership should be assessed in a new light.

A potential breakaway from the bloc was earlier considered a possible theme in next year’s parliamentary election, the most closely fought since Orban’s return to power in 2010. Most Hungarians support membership, however, and Hungary has been among the biggest recipients of EU funds per capita since it joined.