Hungarian Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér held bilateral talks on Europe’s future and security on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union national assembly speakers in Tallinn, public television M1 reported on Tuesday.
Kövér met Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka, who talked about his country’s programme for its upcoming European Union presidency. The Austrian presidency will focus on digitisation, the integration of the Western Balkans regioan and the fight against illegal migration, Sobotka said.
The Hungarian House speaker said Austria planned to pursue a “realistic” migration policy based on “common sense” during its presidency.
Kövér also held talks with French Senate leader Gerard Larcher. The senate president told M1 that like the Hungarian government, the French senate also attached special importance to the situation of Middle Eastern Christians.
Larcher said France has established a working group for the protection of minorities whose task is to find a way to repatriate Iraqi Christians who had fled their homeland. He said the EU also had a duty to help the displaced Iraqis, arguing that Christian culture was one of Europe’s key values.
At their meeting, the parliamentary speakers adopted a joint declaration stating that one of the EU’s most important responsibilities is to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens.
Kövér said the speakers had considered inserting a clause declaring Christian culture as a fundamental value that binds the EU together into the declaration, but it was ultimately left out. The clause, proposed by Poland, was supported by Hungary, among other member states, he said.
“They believed we shouldn’t include it because it’s a religious matter that would exclude certain European citizens,” Kövér said. He said those who had backed the clause’s inclusion had tried to explain that it was not a question of religion, but rather one of culture and civilisation that was integral to European identity.