'We do not compromise on these issues because we are a sovereign country,' says Foreign Minister

 The right-wing populist government in Hungary is attracting conservative thinkers from the United States who admire its approaches to migration, LGBT issues and national sovereignty — all matters that have put the country at odds with its European partners, who see not a conservative haven but a worrying erosion of democratic institutions on multiple fronts.

Hungary’s top diplomat has a few things to say about that.

In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting of world leaders, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said his country would not cede ground on policies that have caused the European Union to impose financial penalties and start legal proceedings against it over violations of the bloc’s values.

“We do not compromise on these issues because we are a sovereign country, a sovereign nation. And no one, not even the European Commission, should blackmail us regarding these policies,” Szijjarto said.

Topping the list of contentious government policies: a controversial Hungarian law that the EU says violates the fundamental rights of LGBT people. That led the EU’s executive commission to delay billions in economic recovery funds earmarked for Hungary — a move Szijjarto called “a purely political decision” and “blackmail.” The law, he says, is meant to protect children from pedophiles and ”homosexual propaganda.”

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