The Slovak government plans to continue building good relations with Hungary because that is in the interest of Slovakia’s citizens, its economy and the region, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said in Parliament on Tuesday after meeting his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán.
Viktor Orbán described his talks with Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini on Tuesday as a “meeting of two successful countries in a successful region”.
Slovak-Hungarian cooperation and the Visegrád Group partnership contribute to the success of a common Europe, Orbán told a joint press conference in Parliament after the meeting. The V4 is no longer an alliance of poor countries but composed of countries whose economies are characterised by “dynamism, financial discipline and great plans”, he added.
Orbán expressed thanks to Pellegrini for Slovakia’s help in border protection and for Bratislava standing in support of Hungary “in the midst of a great international storm”.
Commenting on bilateral relations, he said that after linking the gas pipelines of the two countries, work has now started to connect their electricity grids.
The Visegrád Group has managed to keep its unity, stood up for national values and fought back outside pressure, he said at a joint press conference with Orbán. Slovakia, the next to take up the rotating presidency of the group comprising Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, will base its presidency on that unity, Pellegrini said.
The V4 countries have made many difficult decisions and their economies are booming, so they have every right to make proposals to the EU on policy issues instead of merely observing them passively, Pellegrini said.
Hungary had an important role as the president of the V4 group last year, Pellegrini said. The group has faced “many trials” and helped each other efficiently, he said. Its stance on migration has turned out to be correct and the approach “they wanted to impose on us from western Europe does not work,” he said.
The V4’s stance is unified and unchanging on migration, an issue Slovakia intends to focus on during its Visegrád presidency, Pellegrini said. No one should be allowed to strip the V4 countries of their right to decide who they let enter, he said.
The mandatory quota system has failed, and paying in lieu of accepting migrants is “impossible”, Pellegrini said, adding that the protection of the outer borders is also a form of solidarity.
Commenting on the issue of the rescue ship Aquarius, which was denied port in Italy and Malta with over 600 migrants on board, Pellegrini said that “we should say no” to the EU funding an expensive rescue system so that “those who travel by water can automatically count on being rescued and taken to the EU.” The course of action regarding those coming to Europe should be clearly defined, he said. Italy and Malta’s not accepting the ship was “only the beginning”, Pellegrini said, stressing the need to strengthen the EU’s external borders.
Featured image: MTI