Foreign AffairsPolitics

Prime Ministers Varadkar and Orbán: Ireland and Hungary are Important Partners

The Irish and Hungarian Prime Ministers held talks in Budapest on Thursday. During their meeting, they negotiated on issues such as Brexit, agriculture, the EU, taxation, and migration.

“If we want to have a strong EU, each of us will have to do our own bit on the home front,” Orbán said, emphasizing again the importance of national economies. Concerning Brexit, the Hungarian Prime Minister assured that Hungary supports Ireland’s special viewpoints. About taxes, he said he is against harmonising taxes at a European level as taxation is an important component of competition. At the same time, Orbán claimed that the EU’s farm policy shouldn’t be changed and that the agricultural sector should “receive the same [subsidies] in the future as were granted in previous years”.

On migration, the Hungarian PM reiterated his usual talking points on migration, arguing that Hungary will insist on retaining its own identity, culture and achievements. He added that Schengen rules and external borders must be enforced and protected.

Leo Varadkar began by noting that 12,000 Hungarians currently reside and work in Ireland. He expressed appreciation for the Hungarian government’s understanding of the specific Irish points of view with regard to Brexit, especially the Irish-Northern Irish border issue. He highlighted the importance of establishing as close links as possible with the UK after Brexit takes place. Varadkar also said that Ireland agrees with Hungary that the best way of ensuring stability in the Western Balkans is to take steps towards the EU integration of the former Yugoslav countries and Albania.

The Irish Premier expressed his view that he and Orbán share the same views on tax harmonisation as well as on maintaining EU budget and development aid without changes. On migration, however, Varadkar said that, in contrast to the Hungarian point of view, Ireland supports the concept of joint burden-sharing within the EU.