V4-Benelux summit on migration issues
Different countries with divergent cultures are bound to support differentiated migration policies, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Warsaw on Monday.
Speaking at a joint press conference of Visegrad Group and Benelux leaders after a V4-Benelux summit on migration issues, Orbán said: “Some countries at the meeting made it clear that they would not change their cultural patterns” while there are some other countries “that live in a much more coloured world than we do”.
In light of those differences, “the European Union has undertaken a heroic task” of building a common migration policy, Orbán said. He said the community’s “experiment” was “worthy”, and although the steps taken were “small” there were some “encouraging details”.
“We continue to encourage the EU to try and build a common concept despite the divergence of positions”, Orbán said, adding that Hungary respected cultural differences, but “expectations should be kept low”.
Orbán said participants agreed that the external borders must be protected and refugees should be distinguished from migrants as early as possible. Further, agreements should be negotiated with countries of origin as well as with transit countries, he said. The EU should also compile a list of safe countries, he added.
Orbán said the summit had brought V4 leaders “closer than I would have thought” to their Benelux counterparts.
Answering a question, the prime minister said that the issue of national identity was of paramount importance in central Europe and migration was a closely associated issue. “We should not accept any migration policy that would change who we are now … this is the basis of the Hungarian position,” he said.
On Monday afternoon Poland handed over the rotating presidency of the V4 cooperation to Hungary.