“We are getting closer to a sensible migration policy in Europe”, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after a Visegrad Four summit meeting in Warsaw. Hungary has closed all legal loopholes concerning migration and prepared itself for the possible failure of the migration deal between the EU and Turkey, he said.
Visegrad Summit in Warsaw
“We are able to halt any wave of migration, no matter its size,” Viktor Orbán said. Hungary has also made the first steps to eliminate the “migrant business”, he added. “A good number of NGOs obviously consider the migrant issue a business matter. For this reason, we will take steps to make their operation fully transparent,” he said. Asked about Hungary’s recently-amended asylum rules that entered into effect on Tuesday, Orbán insisted that the new laws served to protect EU citizens. The Hungarian Premier said views that link the issue of migration with the reimbursement of EU monies are illegitimate. “Let’s not allow them to intimidate us,” he added, urging his V4 partners to stand by their “sensible” migration policies. Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo added “Poland and the Visegrad Group will never agree to this blackmail or to such conditions to be dictated”, while Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico also said it was “blackmail” to tie the issue of EU funding to migration policy.
Regarding last week’s EU summit in Rome, Orbán said the V4 had demonstrated that they shared a serious joint position on the future of Europe. The summit in Rome is not the end of the debate on the bloc’s future, but rather the entry point into its next phase that will be about ironing out the details, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after a Visegrad Four summit meeting in Warsaw. He said Europe now had a general declaration on its future, while the European Commission is preparing to put forward five packages of proposed legislation. He urged his V4 colleagues to react swiftly to each package. On the subject of Brexit, Orbán repeated the Hungarian government’s position that the rights of Hungarian citizens working in the UK must be protected and that the EU and Britain should strike a fair exit deal.
CEE Innovators Summit
Speaking at an innovation conference after the summit in Warsaw, Viktor Orbán said that the future of Europe lies in the V4 grouping. Orbán was joined at the CEE Innovators Summit by his V4 counterparts. The prime minister said he expects the “centre of gravity” of European development to gradually shift from western to central Europe. “If Europe has a future, then it is primarily in central Europe,” the Hungarian Premier said, arguing that western Europe had “baggage” which it would have a hard time dealing with. He said he expected that in a matter of years, the V4 would be referred to as “Europe’s strongest engine of growth”.
Visit to Malta
Following the conference, Viktor Orbán left Warsaw for Malta, to attend a congress of the European People’s Party on Thursday. In Malta, he has met with Pedro Agramunt, president of the Council of Europe’s, to discuss the migration crisis and legal issues connected with the defence of Europe’s external border. At the talks with the one-time head of the EPP, Orbán said that Hungarian measures to strengthen controls at the border served both the interests of Hungarians and European citizens. He insisted that certain NGOs with foreign backgrounds were abusing their positions both financially and politically, as well as spearheading various legal disputes. But the Hungarian government is committed to protecting the border of both Hungary and the EU, Orbán said. Orbán and Agramunt also discussed concepts related to the future of Europe, Bertalan Havasi, the PM’s press chief, said.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; photos: Balázs Szecsődi – kormany.hu