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May 03, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: With Matteo Salvini we “proved that it’s not true that migration can’t be stopped”

In his Friday morning interview on Kossuth radio, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán touched upon yesterday’s visit of Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini, the Eastern Opening policy and the upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump later this month.

The deputy prime minister has become one of the most important people in Europe, the prime minister said after the Italian minister’s visit yesterday. “Stopping migration at sea, Matteo Salvini drove a nail into the coffin of the pro-migration politicians,” he said “to which we also contributed by stopping migration on land.”  By doing this, the prime minister added, “we proved that it’s not true that migration can’t be stopped.”

Recalling yesterday’s visit to the Hungarian-Serbian border – an external border of the Schengen Area – with DPM Salvini, PM Orbán said it’s disappointing that instead of considering a success the border fence that has stopped migration on the Western Balkans route, Brussels continues to judge and doesn’t even take into consideration reimbursing Hungary for some of the costs incurred to build this border defense and protect Europe’s external border.

“In the upcoming period they want to spend an enormous amount of money on border protection not giving it to governments like the Italian or the Hungarian but solving the problems from Brussels,” the prime minister said.

Touching upon the upcoming EP elections and relations with the European People’s Party, the prime minister said that the “significant question is who will be the head of the European Commission and the European Council,” adding  “the question is if these leaders will be pro-migration politicians or politicians who oppose migration”. The prime minister also said that migration and border protection is not a party issue but a question for the member states. That’s why the Hungarian proposal to establish a new council composed of the interior ministers of the Schengen Area would be the right solution to solve the problem.

Creating a trade connection between Europe and Asia is a historical challenge but essential, the prime minister said with reference to the Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing at the end of April. “China is ready to provide expertise and financial support, to initiate political consultations and to strike agreements,” he said, adding that “this is a great opportunity and we shouldn’t be left out of it.”

Turning to the upcoming meeting with President Donald Trump and the importance of the visit, the prime minister noted that some take the approach that migration is a human right but other countries – like Hungary and the United States, among others – take a different position.

“In the United Nations, [Hungary and the US] belong to the same group that is trying to stop international efforts that want to encourage migration world wide,” said PM Orbán. “So the meeting’s most important question will be to find a way of cooperation by which we can stand up against migration at international forums.”