Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Migration issue could be resolved but ‘EU reluctant’

Illegal migration could be resolved but "the European Union is reluctant to take that course", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a press briefing held together with his Visegrad Group counterparts in Bratislava on Monday.
26. June 2023 17:38

“The Hungarian position is unchanged: once a request is filed to enter the EU, the applicant must physically stay outside the European borders until their application is evaluated,” Orbán said.

“If we declared that only those persons whose procedures are completed and to whom a member state has granted entry can enter the EU, the problem would be over,” Orbán said.

The EU is reluctant to take that step, and “we need to continue fighting to that end”, Orbán said.

Concerning a budget change proposal by the European Commission, Orbán said the funds that would be allocated to fighting illegal migration were “ridiculously low”. He said the proposal, in its current form, was “ridiculous and unfit for discussion”, and called for another EC proposal “that could be taken seriously”.

Apart from illegal migration, participants in the V4 meeting also discussed the situation in Ukraine, issues around the Western Balkans and the EU’s green agreement.

Concerning the Western Balkans, Orbán said countries in the region shared the position that the region’s European integration should be accelerated. Though “Ukraine currently is largely in the focus”, other problems should not be neglected such as “growing tensions in the Balkans that require refined and complex solutions”, Orbán said, adding that “the EU’s treatment of those problems has been laden with mistakes and failures”. He called for a European Balkans policy that “offers a clear perspective of membership” to peoples in the region. He said “an impression that Ukraine could sooner become an EU member than countries that have been candidates for years must be prevented”.

Orbán welcomed the Serbian authorities’ decision to release three Kosovan police officers at his request, and said he was glad that “rapidly increasing tension could be somewhat mitigated”.

Concerning the EU’s green deal and its impacts on competitiveness, Orbán highlighted the significance of a green transition, but called for an implementation that would “not compromise the competitiveness of Hungary and that of central Europe”. He called for a “green transition together with industry but not without industry and especially not against industry.”

Participants in the meeting reviewed the war situation in Ukraine, Orbán said, but added that “the goal is not to have this issue in the focus of the cooperation”. Hungary shares concerns over grain imports from Ukraine, he said. “We support that the grain should reach destinations outside Europe, but we do not support that the grain should end up for example in Hungary and completely destroy the Hungarian grain markets,” he said.

The Bratislava meeting was one of the closing events of the Slovak V4 presidency. The presidency will be taken over by Czechia in July.

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