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Hungary Seeks To Open New Chapter In Relations With Austria As Countries’ Leaders Meet In Budapest

Ferenc Sullivan 2016.07.26.

The best method for protecting the Hungarian-Austrian border would be if the two countries jointly protected the Hungarian-Serbian border, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated at a press conference following his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on Tuesday in Budapest. Hungary will make every effort during the period ahead to be the best possible neighbour and partner of Austria, he made clear.

Mr. Orbán told journalists that the first step has been taken towards the protection of the Hungarian-Serbian border by virtue of the fact that Austria is sending twenty people to protect the border. He added: Hungary asked Austria to explore the possibility of continued cooperation, and of upgrading this effort by increasing the number of personnel sent to the border by magnitudes. The Hungarian government said that as regards the issue of migration, the two countries are in different situations, and Hungary has a vested interest in the “flawless and verbatim” observance of international law.

He stressed that Hungary takes back every migrant who first entered the EU in Hungary at the Austrian-Hungarian border in accordance with the international agreements, and immediately moves them on to where they came from. He added: this is possible because Hungary has agreements with the countries of the Western-Balkans on the returning of migrants. PM Orbán said that Hungary receives the measures implemented by Austria at its borders with understanding.

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Hungary is hoping to open a new chapter in relations with its western neighbour after they deteriorated under Mr. Kern’s left-wing predecessor Werner Faymann during the migrant crisis

He also pointed out that Hungary has “hermetically” sealed the Hungarian-Serbian border, and no one is allowed to stay in the territory of the country illegally as the Penal Code does not permit this. Therefore, no one arriving in Hungary illegally can move on to Austria, he said, adding: eight thousand military and police personnel are working at the border. If the current practice can be maintained, he continued, Hungary is also able to protect Austria from illegal immigrants.

In answer to a question, Mr. Orbán said the reason why migrants are leaving Hungary for Austria is that the European Commission decided that closed and guarded refugee camps must be disbanded or must be turned into open facilities. Should the possibility of „stationing” migrants in closed facilities until the closing of the asylum proceedings exist, not a single person would go from Hungary to Austria, he pointed out. Mr Orbán takes the view that the current European law does not help, but rather hinders Hungary in this issue.

Expressing his condolences to the victims of the Tuesday terrorist attack in France and to their relatives, the Hungarian leader said that “the series of terrorist attacks committed against Christian Europe to date has reached an entirely new level”.

He stressed: the essence of “the Hungarian entry policy” lies in only allowing in as many people as the authorities are able to check. Based on the Hungarian approach, “each and every migrant poses a public security and terrorist threat”, and it takes a long time – several months – to determine the extent of the risk or whether the risk exists at all, he explained. The Prime Minister expressed his condolences to the victims of the Tuesday terrorist attack in France and to their relatives. “The series of terrorist attacks committed against Christian Europe to date has reached an entirely new level”, he said.

In answer to a question regarding his support for Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump, Mr. Orbán said: “the Democrats’ foreign policy is bad for Europe, and fatal for Hungary. By contrast, the migration and foreign policy endorsed by the Republicans and presidential candidate Donald Trump is good for Europe, and is a lifeline for Hungary”. He argued: one policy supports migration, the other one is opposed to it. One side regards the construction of democracy as a priority in its foreign policy, the other one is against this.

Mr. Orbán was widely branded the first international leader to endorse the Republican nominee’s presidential bid after he praised Mr. Trump’s foreign policy proposals in a speech over the weekend.

via kormany.hu
photos: Gergely Botár/kormany.hu