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Visegrad Group expresses solidarity with Poland in migration crisis

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia pledged solidarity with Poland in the migration crisis on its border with Belarus, at a summit in Budapest on Tuesday.

At the joint press conference after the talks, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki thanked Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Eduard Heger of Slovakia and Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic for their support.

Morawiecki said the situation amounted to a “new political crisis” where Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “colluded with the mafia and people smugglers and used human beings to put pressure on the European Union.”

Meanwhile, Poland is facing an energy crisis “because our enemies have more and more tools at their disposal,” and ongoing misinformation campaigns, Morawiecki said.

At the same time, the Visegrad countries have remained united, he said. He praised Orban’s approach, who said “as early as 2015 that states had the right to decide who to allow to enter their territory.”

Poland is currently protecting the outer borders of both the EU and NATO, setting an example of solidarity along with the Baltic countries, he said.

Diplomatic cooperation has already yielded results: the number of migrants arriving at the Polish-Belarusian border is falling, he said.

Babis noted that Hungary had faced “all around criticism” when it built a fence to protect its borders in 2015. By now, several heads of state have proposed that the EU should fund physical barriers, he said.

He called on the European Commission to “solve the issue and clamp down on the people smuggling rings.” He offered to send policemen and soldiers to the Polish border to help in border protection.

Heger called the protection of the European Union’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and member states a “joint task”.

He said he had talks with Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on the situation earlier on Tuesday. The two leaders signed a declaration and pledged to provide help on the Polish-Belarusian border. They also condemned the exploitation of migrants, he said. Slovakia has already offered its Frontex officers to help manage the situation in Poland and Lithuania, and was one of the countries turning to the European Commission for help, he said.

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