Prime Ministers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia adopted a joint statement on the migration crisis in Europe at the summit held in the recent days in Prague on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Visegrad Group. The extraordinary summit was also attended by the President of Macedonia and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The statement of the V4 leaders underlines “the importance of steps aimed at protecting the external borders” of the European Union and urges Brussels to create an alternative back-up plan as well “in case the progress in border protection and cooperation with Turkey falls short of expectations”.
The declaration adopted by the Visegrad Group in Prague serves the economically and socially important goal of preserving the Schengen agreement, taking into account the particular point of view of central Europe, state secretary of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s office said in Brussels. Szabolcs Takács spoke after a meeting of ministers of EU affairs, ahead of a summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Hungary wants participants at the upcoming European Union summit to approve a document stating that the bloc’s measures should be aimed at slowing down or stemming migration, he said. Frans Timmermans, deputy president of the European Commission, praised the V4 declaration on migration in this regard, saying it seeks to contribute meaningfully to the common European search for a solution, Takács added.
Concerning efforts by the four Visegrad countries to contribute to a European solution to the migration problem, Takács said the V4 considered it crucial that a sustainable solution should emerge for protecting the EU’s external borders. Reinforcing the Greece-Macedonia border is of key importance and should not be seen as action against Greece but as promoting Europe’s common interests, he said. Greece should also be given all possible help to enforce Schengen rules, Takács said. The goal is that the EU should be protected along Greece’s southern borders, “but if that does not work, Europe cannot be left unprotected against migration,” the state secretary said. Hungary’s proposal that asylum seekers should not be allowed to leave hotspots before the authorities pass a decision in their case received strong support, Takács said.
via visegradgroup.eu and hungarymatters.hu photo: Balázs Szecsődi – kormany.hu