At stake in next year’s European Parliament elections is the future of the European Union and whether the bloc can be preserved in its current form or “a completely different kind of EU will emerge along lines embraced by Italy’s Matteo Salvini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán”, an MEP of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said on Wednesday.
Reacting to Orbán’s Tuesday meeting with the Italian deputy prime minister, Péter Niedermüller told Hungarian journalists in Brussels that
it was a “typical choice” and a “strange sign” from the Hungarian prime minister to discuss the future of Europe with a politician “who opposes the current system” rather than with the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Emmanuel Macron.
He said Orbán owed his European People’s Party group in the EP an explanation as to why he had discussed migration and the EU’s future with a “far-right politician who openly and obviously goes against the EPP and its values”.
Though both the Hungarian and Italian governments intend to stay in the EU, they want “a kind of Europe that isn’t founded on the principles and values that have been the foundations of the bloc till now”, Niedermuller said. Most Europeans may criticise the EU and oppose some of its measures, “but they want to keep the EU in its current form”, he insisted.
Concerning migration, he said both Italy and Hungary are arguing for sending asylum seekers back to their countries of origin. But he said this was impossible to implement either politically or logistically.
He noted that Italy has asked the other EU member states to take in asylum seekers who have arrived at its shores, but Hungary has refused to take in any. This is an “obvious” source of disagreement between the two countries’ migration policies, the MEP said.