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Oct 29, 2019

Hungary and Slovenia agree on defending borders against illegal migration

PM Orbán highlighted that there are 96,000 migrants currently navigating the Balkan migration route on their way to western Europe.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks with his Slovenian counterpart Marjan Šarec in Budapest yesterday. A range of topics were on the agenda, including the European Union, V4 cooperation, the economy and migration.

According to MTI, PM Orbán highlighted that there are 96,000 migrants currently navigating the Balkan migration route on their way to western Europe.

The Prime Minister said it is however impossible to tell whether the migrants would try to make their way to Hungary or to Slovenia via Croatia. Hungary, however, has a “heartland” together with the Visegrad Group, which has an agreement that if the migration pressure on Hungary were to suddenly increase, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia would send patrol units to the Hungarian-Serbian border, he said. “We’re also ready to cooperate with Slovenia in the most specific and deepest way possible if it serves Slovenia’s interests,” he added.

PM Orbán stressed that both Hungary and Slovenia are both “well aware of what migration and illegal border crossings mean”.

“We both know what it means when masses attempt to cross our borders and transit our countries illegally,” the Prime Minister said. “We know what it’s like when they’re not coming to us but just want to pass through and we know what it’s like when the law, national interests and the humaneness of handling things the right way are in conflict with one another.”

What’s more, Hungary and Slovenia are planning to deliver medical equipment to Africa together, “in line with the idea that we should not import trouble but take the help where it’s needed,” he said. PM Orbán said Hungary is “very sympathetic” towards Slovenia’s efforts to defend its borders. Meanwhile, Šarec said the best solution would be to improve living conditions in the migrants’ country of origin so as to prevent them from leaving their homelands. He urged the EU should craft a joint policy in this matter.

In relation to the EU’s enlargement, PM Orbán said that “now that the EU has botched the decision on starting accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia”, it should at least step up the talks with Serbia “to keep the prospect of [joining] the EU open for the Balkans.” He noted, however, that some member states believe that the entire enlargement process needed to be rethought.