The Hungarian prime minister said the reason why he was being targeted by Brussels was because he stands firmly by the policies of his government and the Visegrad Group, which he said were more successful than those of western Europe.
“Some of the criticisms are levelled at me not because of Hungary, but because of the V4,” Viktor Orbán said in a discussion with his Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini on Slovak commercial TV TA3. “They’re attacking us because we’re successful. Let’s not forget that there’s also competition within the European Union,” he added. “There are some who are hurt by central Europe’s rapid progress.”
Orbán said the V4 would have to withstand the pressure coming from Brussels, while western Europe should accept that the V4 are currently the engine of the EU economy without whom the bloc would not be experiencing any economic growth.
Pellegrini said that time had vindicated the V4’s solutions to illegal migration. Western Europe “is also finally starting to wake up and is adopting parts of the V4 positions”, he said.
The two leaders underlined the importance of protecting the EU’s external borders. They were also in agreement that it was up to member states, rather than Brussels, to decide whom they let in and that internal border controls were not the way forward for the EU.
Gulyás: V4 aids EU decision making
The Visegrad Group’s cooperation is not directed “against others” but aids EU decision making by voicing the member states’ joint positions, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told a conference at Budapest’s Andrássy University.
Speaking at an event on cooperation between Germany and V4, Gergely Gulyás said V4 countries had a vested interest in a stable German government. Hungary itself has important political and economic ties to that country, Gulyás noted. The German government’s internal debate on migration has grown to become a European issue, Gulyás said. Hungary’s position on migration has always been the same. “The protection of the external borders is instrumental in preserving the achievements of the European Union,” he said.
The head of Germany’s junior ruling party CSU, Horst Seehofer, said earlier that clashes on issues around migration threaten to split the country’s ruling coalition of the Christian Social Union and the Christian Democratic Union.
Member states have been neglecting their obligations on border protection for years, without any repercussions, Gulyás said. The EU even goes as far as expecting “solidarity” for these states, he said. “As the EU only has a refugee policy but no migration policy, the only solution is to respect the member states’ decisions,” Gulyás said. The EU has to determine the areas member states are expected to cooperate on, such as defence, security and economic policies, Gulyás said. The Hungarian government does not support a common budget, as it would be “a major step towards a united states of Europe,” he said
featured image: Orbán hands over the V4 presidency to Slovakian PM, Peter Pellegrini on Thursday, in Budapest’s Várkert Bazár; via Koszticsák Szilárd/ MTI