Alexandra Béni | Sep 19, 2018 | 1
Hungary to veto EU-Africa summit agreement
Next Friday, a conference will be hosted in Marrakesh, Morocco with the participation of the EU and several African leaders. The aim of the planned agreement is that the EU transfers funds to African countries in exchange for their hindering of migration. They also intend to stand up against human traffickers. A program is also planned to pay Libyans to return home instead of being shipped to Europe illegally, according to 444.hu.
The preparation of the summit has been in process for a year. The EU and the African countries were to agree about the continuation of the cooperation. However, the Hungarian government announced that they would veto the signing of the document in the name of the EU — which would mean that the whole Union should say no to the agreement.
From the first version of the agreement, everything had to be erased which was referring to the EU’s assumptions as a whole. Instead, the Chief Commissioner of Foreign Affairs of the EU and the Commissioner for Migration were named as the partners of the African countries.
The Hungarian government criticised the agreement, how it does not clearly condemn migration and does not differentiate refugee policy and migration policy.
They stated that, despite the fact that the whole process was about hindering illegal migration.
Representatives of the Belgian, the Portuguese and the Italian governments exclaimed their indignation for Hungary initiating modifications in an agreement after one year of preparation. These alterations would require long discussions with many African countries, and the schedule does not provide enough time for this. Moreover, they also find the suggestions of the Hungarian government unacceptable.
Later, the Spanish, the French, the Austrian and the Finnish ambassadors also joined the condemners of the idea. They added that such backing down would harm the reputation of the EU and this attitude makes the solution of migration difficult.
The Portuguese ambassador highlighted that he does not understand the behaviour of the Hungarian government as this agreement would ease the pressure of migration. The Belgian diplomat stated that these actions would oppose the efforts for the defence of the EU’s borders and the effectiveness of the deportations.
The German and the French ambassadors noted their general disappointment towards Hungary for regularly obstructing the cooperation between EU states.
They — alongside the Cyprian representatives — demanded a separate discussion about the behaviour of the Hungarian government. The Italian, the Dutch, the Finnish, the German and the Cyprian diplomats agreed that Hungary’s actions spoil the international reputation of the whole Union.
The representative of the European Commission found it unexplainable that Hungary would veto an agreement that is only the continuation of an already existing pact accepted in 2015 even by the Hungarian government. The Hungarian ambassador insisted that the agreement is too soft.
It was not the first time recently that Hungary opposed the decision of the EU: the Central European country vetoed the initiation of a common warning for Beijing to stick to basic human rights, and they also denied the prohibition of certain expressions in the contracts between EU countries and China.
Moreover, Hungary was the one that hindered the conclusion of a common statement of the EU at a UN meeting about migration.
The Hungarian ambassador promised to oppose the agreement between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific states) if he finds the text too supportive of migration.
He stated that the Hungarian government would not accept the agreement unless all the paragraphs mentioning ‘legal migration’ will be erased. The counter-argument was that if there will be no opportunity for legal migration, then the affected countries will not help to hinder illegal migration either. The ambassador of Luxemburg stated that if the Hungarians intend to modify the text, then his country will demand the support of the creation of legal migration’s requirements. The debate began to get fierce.
Though Hungary often represented a different opinion to the majority, the country did not veto important decisions — until recently.
Hungary is on the straight path to becoming a public enemy. Many Western governments are beginning to consider Hungary as an inner adversary.
The diplomatic retaliation was imminent. Though several member states agreed on rebuking Ukraine about the educational law violating minority rights, this warning did not become a reality. None of the states intended to stand for the cause of the Hungarians.
Though the Hungarian government often emphasises the importance of the V4, it rather seems that they do not have any true allies left among the member states.
Photo: MTI/EPA/Christophe Petit Tesson