Europe is full, which means that its borders must be protected, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told reporters in Parliament on Tuesday after talks with Manfred Weber, group leader of the European People’s Party.
Because of this, the Hungarian government will only back new regulations on migration that guarantee the protection of Europe’s borders, Orbán said.
This position is reflected in the proposals Hungary has submitted to the EU in connection with the amendment of the bloc’s asylum regulations, he said. Orbán added that the current regulations were centred more on the distribution of migrants.
“We shouldn’t be focusing on the distribution of migrants,” the prime minister said. “A mandatory quota is out of the question and instead we should be making sure that illegal migrants can’t enter Hungary and the European Union’s territory.”
Orbán said this view was gaining more and more traction in Europe.
On another subject, Orbán noted Weber’s position as a leading figure in the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and that Germany recently swore in a new government. “It’s important for us that we maintain especially good relations with the Germans, and specifically the Bavarians,” Orbán said.
“It’s never been a secret that we consider the Bavarian people role models; we, too, want a country that is as strong and rich as Bavaria,” he said. “Right now it seems like this is far away, but we haven’t given up on this goal.”
Orbán expressed his congratulations to Weber on Horst Seehofer, outgoing Bavarian premier, becoming interior minister in the new German federal government. He said he expected that as a member of the German government, Seehofer “will always give Hungary the respect and recognition it deserves”.
“We can already see signs of this, so Hungarian-Bavarian relations can contribute significantly to the improvement of Hungarian-German ties.”
In their talks, Orbán and Weber also touched on the 2019 European parliamentary election. The prime minister made it clear that his Fidesz party will contest that election as a member of the EPP. “We belong to the European People’s Party; we are proud of this and we see ourselves as a strong party of the EPP,” Orbán said.
Though Fidesz may not count as part of the EPP’s mainstream, but more of its right wing, “we are the CSU of the European People’s Party: a key component of the group that represents traditional Christian democratic values within the EPP,” the prime minister said.
“We want to win the 2019 European parliamentary election and we want to continue to bear the responsibility of shaping the future of Europe,” Orbán said.
Weber said that the EU should support politicians who are ready to protect Europe’s borders from illegal migration instead of criticising them. This should even be the case if the politician in question had to build a fence on their country’s border, as Orbán had, he said.
The EPP group leader praised Hungary’s economic progress, noting that ten years ago the country’s economy was in a difficult state, but now GDP growth is 4 percent and the unemployment rate has fallen from 12 percent to 4 percent.
Featured image: MTI