DAVAO CITY–The Hungarian government has vowed to strengthen cultural and trade relations with the Philippines amid criticisms by the European Union (EU) over the country’s domestic affairs.
Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto said that Hungary will not meddle in the internal issues of the Philippines even if the country is a member of the EU, which criticized the Philippine government’s war against illegal drugs. Hungary is one of the 28 member-countries of the EU.
Szijjarto said that Hungary never gives comment on the internal and domestic issues of other countries and respects the rights of the Filipino people to solve their own problems.
“We understand that it’s only the Filipino people who have the right to make a decision about (their) country,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, Szijjarto signed an agreement on cultural exchange and foreign affairs with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs before a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte at the Panacan Guest House.
Szijjarto is the first top diplomat coming from the European Union to visit the country under the Duterte administration.
The agreement between the two countries serves as framework for cooperation on exchange of expertise and researchers, conduct of joint research programs, invitation to symposium, meetings and conferences organized by each party.
“I think that the agreement will ensure a very good basis for enhancing our bilateral cooperation,” he said.
Hungary is looking for cooperation in the field of food industry, water management, machinery and education.
Szijarto announced they have granted 35 scholarships for Filipino students to study in any Hungarian universities.
He expressed optimism the bilateral economic cooperation would auger well for both countries.