Migration is Europe’s gravest topical issue, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after talks with Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister, in Milan on Tuesday. At a press conference after the talks, Orbán said that Hungary has proven that illegal migration can be stopped, though “everybody said earlier that it could not be done either in legal or physical terms”.
Orbán spoke highly of Salvini “taking the historic mission” to stop migrants at sea, which “no coastal country had done before”, and said that Europe’s security is dependent on the Italian minister’s success. Hungary will provide Italy with all assistance to protect its borders, he added.
Illegal migrants already in Europe should not be distributed among member states but turned back to their homelands, Orbán said. “Aid must be provided where there are problems rather than import those problems,” he said.
On another subject, Orbán said that “Hungarians are faithful and will not forget” and thanked Salvini for his support in earlier debates in the European Parliament over Hungary’s constitution.
Referring to next year’s European Parliamentary elections, Orbán said that “we need a new Commission and new European Parliament” to protect the community’s borders and stop illegal migration. “We need a different Europe, based on new ideological foundations,” the prime minister said, and called for voter support in both countries.
Concerning the European People’s Party, of which Orbán’s Fidesz is a member, he said that
“there are two camps;”
one is led by French President Emmanuel Macron, who “wants to blow up the EPP”, being the leader of a political force which “supports migration”. On the other hand, “there we are, that want to stop illegal migration”, Orbán said, adding that “we want our position generally accepted” and suggested that it was the position shared by the European public.
Orbán also said that Italy was one of the strongest countries in Europe, a country with which Hungary has historically had good cooperation. Salvini said at the press conference that his talks with Orbán mark the start of efforts to build a new Europe. He said efforts were under way to create a new political alliance in preparation for the European Parliamentary elections to bring about a “new Europe, a new European Commission”.
He added that Europe was ahead of a “decisive turning point” and said that next year’s elections would be a “historic moment” for the community. Salvini called the Hungarian government’s economic policy exemplary, as one “which has proven that a country could grow and invest without austerity measures”. He noted that Hungary has low unemployment and a growing economy, while its taxation was also promoting growth.