Top Stories
Top Stories

Hungary’s minister: We’ll be very tough on Brexit negotiations

Migration is a very emotional debate: Hungary minister

The British government should expect a tough time ahead in its discussions to leave the European Union as member countries work to make sure that its citizens working in the U.K. will not suffer from the Brexit decision.

"We want to fully protect the rights of those Hungarians and EU citizens who have already been working here in the U.K. My understanding is that these people actually contributed to the success of the U.K," Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian foreign minister told CNBC on Wednesday.

"We will be very tough on negotiations," he added.

Earlier this year, Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, told a news conference that the 55,000 Hungarians living in the U.K. pay more than what they receive in benefits and should therefore be protected, the U.K.'s Independent reported.

Hungary has been heavily criticized for its stance on migration since large numbers of people fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa began arriving at the EU borders. The Hungarian government has refused EU quotas on migrant distribution. But Szijjártó denied calls that the Hungarian anti-migrant rhetoric fuelled support for a Brexit vote.

Want to protect Hungarian workers' rights in UK: Minister

"We should not confuse immigration and migration," he told CNBC.

"Because as far as I understand when you speak about immigration here in London and the U.K, you speak about mostly EU citizens coming to work to London or to the U.K. When we speak about migration we speak about the mass migration of illegal migrants entering the territory of the European Union from the outside of the EU, violating our borders, breaking our regulations," the minister said.

"When it comes to migration… it has been a very emotional debate in Europe. But if you have an emotional debate about that you will never come to a solution. You have to be rational."

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.