BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary on its own will not veto a new delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union, a top minister said on Monday, adding that a disorderly Brexit would dent Hungary’s strong economic growth.
With less than seven weeks until Britain is due to leave the EU, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has yet to agree with Brussels on how to manage the separation between the world’s fifth-largest economy and its biggest trading partner.
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Johnson has pledged to leave the 27-member bloc with or without a deal on Oct. 31, even though British lawmakers have passed a law which would force him to request a delay beyond that date if he is unable to reach a deal.
Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, told Reuters there was no Hungarian government decision that would veto a Brexit delay: “No decision has been made in this respect.”
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“The Prime Minister, similarly to the prime ministers of the 26 other countries, is free to decide on what he will do in case there is a fresh (Brexit) delay but it can be excluded that Hungary would make a move alone,” Gulyas said in an interview.
Gulyas said a no-deal Brexit would be harmful to Hungary’s economy, although the impact would be less severe than in some other member states. He said he was hopeful that a no-deal Brexit would reduce Hungary’s growth by less than 0.5%.
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However, Gulyas, who is one of Orban’s closest aides, said that in its present form Hungary would veto the EU’s next budget as it was unacceptable that political aspects would count when it came to the distribution of funds.
Orban, a nationalist with a strongly anti-immigrant platform, has frequently clashed with Brussels over migration and democratic rights.
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