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UK Ambassador to Budapest: We left the EU, but did not leave Europe

Britain signed a bilateral security agreement this week with Sweden applying for NATO membership and is preparing to take similar action with Finland. Both countries can count on London’s support to attack them. The UK’s ambassador to Budapest, Mosquito Radio, told European Time that the agreement had a symbolic and practical meaning.

Interview with Paul Fox, Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Budapest

– Perhaps the most important British diplomatic event of the week was the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Sweden and Finland. A “mini-five article” on the mutual defense elements of the NATO agreement was discussed and agreed upon. In other words, the UK will defend itself if these states are attacked. As the two countries are likely to join NATO soon, does this agreement still have symbolic or practical meaning?

– I just read that Finland has officially indicated its willingness to join NATO. I will talk about this in a broader context. As is well known, Britain presented its international political vision last year, which makes it clear that we want to be more active in the international arena, including on security issues. In a speech in late April, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reviewed a number of factors in light of Russia’s spontaneous and humiliating invasion of Ukraine. The key was to review the security framework and create global alliances to make our security sustainable. It is in this context that this visit of the Prime Minister has taken place. We know NATO membership is being considered, but the UK is already considering ensuring their security by granting it. Of course, once they become members, they will enjoy the protection afforded by Section 5 of the NATO Document. In short, this agreement has a symbolic but also practical meaning.

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– And does this agreement point to a new kind of relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom? Above all, the focus is on bilateral relations. However, despite Brexit and the fact that there is no dispute between the two sides over the continuation of security cooperation, the overall picture has now changed somewhat in Europe and in British-EU relations.

“Then I’ll stand in line.” The first thing my predecessor here and I and my colleagues in Europe have repeatedly said is that we left the EU, but did not leave Europe. Our response accurately reflects the situation in Ukraine. When Putin followed his own decision on February 24 and launched his armed forces in Ukraine, it is impossible to emphasize how important and significant the event was. It was a turning point, comparable to the fall of the Berlin Wall or September 11, so it needs to reconsider things and a concerted response. This is what NATO in Europe means, we are staunch members of the Alliance, which reflects on our operations in Ukraine in terms of humanitarian and military training and equipment. But it also highlights the strengthened reserves in Estonia and the security guarantees offered to Sweden and the Finns when joining NATO. The situation in Ukraine is having a significant impact on our relations with our friends in the European Union. We work very closely together, regardless of sanctions or humanitarian assistance. In addition, we have strengthened bilateral relations with various European countries. Two examples; One is in light of the events in Poland, especially in Ukraine, but I can also mention that relations with Hungary are strong, as evidenced by Prime Minister Orban’s visit to the United Kingdom twice in the last 12 months. We place more emphasis on bilateral relations, but this is not an alternative. I must also say that the conflicts with our friends in the EU are still open. One thing that has arisen in recent years is the Northern Ireland Accord. Now, after the Northern Irish House of Representatives election, it has become an urgent and important issue as one of the parties representing the Northern Irish community is blocking the formation of local government until concerns over border immigration are resolved. That is why we urge the EU to change its approach to this issue. We do not want to throw the protocol out the window, just make it more efficient. But this must be done urgently as the situation in Northern Ireland cannot be prolonged. Our main concern is whether the Good Friday Covenant will be maintained there. That is, we have in mind both the security in Ukraine and the security in Northern Ireland.

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