Hungary and Poland are the guardians of the European Union’s founding treaty, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday in Warsaw at a press conference together with his Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo.
Less Brussels, more nation states
Speaking at a press conference held jointly with Szydlo, Orbán compared the European Union’s ongoing legal action against Poland to an inquisition, saying it was politically charged.
Orbán voiced Hungary’s solidarity towards all EU member states in similar situations to Poland.
“We want to see less of Brussels and stronger nation states,” Orbán said,
suggesting that this was the reason for the EU’s “politically-charged” procedures.
To visit Poland is to visit one of the most successful countries in the EU, Orbán said, adding that the bloc would be much the poorer for losing Poland, witnessing the country’s economic, academic and cultural accomplishments.
Orbán called Poland’s GDP growth rate “fantastic”, saying it was a driving force behind the EU’s economy. He said
Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were not far behind Poland in terms of economic growth.
Orbán said he and Szydlo had talked about launching “one or two large joint projects”, adding that Poland and Hungary would “gladly accept” input from the other two Visegrad countries if they wished to join. Details of the projects are still to be worked out, he added.
The two leaders also discussed the future of Europe and concluded that Hungary and Poland are the guardians of the EU’s founding treaty in light of the ongoing debate about the bloc’s future. Orbán said Hungary and Poland were working to make sure that no member state can violate the treaty that he said was derived from the EU’s member states. This principle is something that Hungary and Poland are protecting, he said.
“We show respect to every other country even if this is not reciprocated,” Orbán said, adding that what was taking place in the EU against Poland was “disrespectful”.
“Poland should be spoken of in a manner of respect,” the prime minister said.
Orbán and Szydlo also talked about their ongoing disputes with the EU. Orbán said he had concluded based on Szydlo’s argument that criticisms levelled against Poland over the rule of law were unfounded. Hungary believes it is wrong to level baseless criticisms over the rule of law against any member state, he said.
The prime minister called for an EU that did not allow for its institutions to “stealthily” take over more and more powers from member states.
‘We don’t want to be an immigrant country’
Orbán said his talks with Szydlo also covered the issue of migration. He told his Polish counterpart that the EU had become divided on the issue with “immigrant countries” on one side and those that do not wish to become such on the other. He said “immigrant countries” were typically former colonial countries which now want to “build their labour market on immigrants”. The other group wants to solve demographic and labour-market problems through family and economic policy, he said.
The future of the EU depends on how these two groups can find common ground, Orbán said.
He voiced concerns about the bloc’s future, saying that “immigrant countries” were trying to force “non-immigrant ones” to become just like them.
“We accept the decision of immigrant countries that they want to be immigrant countries,” Orbán said.
“We ask them to accept that we do not want to be one,” he added.
“We reserve the right to respect the decision of the Hungarian nation that we don’t want to become like they are now,” he said.
“We want to protect Hungary and all we ask is that immigrant countries respect this. Hungarians can demand this, they have a right to,” the prime minister added.
Szydlo: Poland’s priority would continue to be the security of its citizens
Szydlo said the path chosen by the Hungarian and Polish governments in managing illegal migration had proven to be the right one.
She said Poland acknowledged the European court’s most recent decision and would also acknowledge future ones regarding the migrant quota scheme, adding, at the same time, that Poland’s priority would continue to be the security of its citizens.
Warsaw and Budapest support steps taken by the EU to help countries subjected to the greatest migration pressure and to tackle the root causes of migration, Szydlo said.
Szydlo said she and Orbán had reaffirmed their joint position on the directive on posted workers, noting that the V4 countries had agreed a joint position on it.
Hungary and Poland were also in agreement on Brexit, the EU’s 2020-2026 budget as well as the common market.
Orbán met Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), Marek Kuchcinski, the Marshall of the Sejm, Senate President Stanislaw Karczewski as well as Polish President Andrzej Duda.
As we wrote on Tuesday, a monument was unveiled in central Warsaw (Poland) to commemorate the Hungarian soldiers who helped Polish resistance fighters during the city’s 1944 anti-Nazi uprising.