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Aug 30, 2016

The EU hasn't faced this many challenges since World War II

The Visegrad Four (V4) group comprising Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic is the tightest and most effective alliance in Europe and one that can help bring Europe out of its current troubles

The European Union hasn't faced the challenges evident today on such a scale since World War II, said Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Minister Szijjártó said that the pressure of immigration, the threat of terrorism, the departure of Britain from the EU, and the war in Ukraine increasingly appear to pose long-term, unresolved challenges to the EU.

The minister summed up in four points the series of changes that the EU should – in the view of the Hungarian government – confront in order to find a way out of this extremely difficult situation.

As the first priority, he pointed out that the EU "must protect itself”.

"We must put an end to the untenable European practise which encouraged thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands to lay siege to and violate the borders of the EU and the member states of the EU," the minister said.

Szijjártó described as harmful and flawed the decisions the European Commission has adopted with respect to immigration. They must admit the mistake and set out in a completely different direction in the management of the migration crisis, he said.

The enlargement of the European Union with the countries of the Western Balkans must be accelerated, the minister cited as the second priority. As he said, it has been ascertained multiple times that the situation in the Western Balkans and southeast Europe is extremely unstable and fragile, and this fragile situation could be best addressed through the extension of the EU’s integration process to these countries.

Meanwhile, the Visegrad Four group comprising Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic is the tightest and most effective alliance in Europe and one that can help bring Europe out of its current troubles.

During the most recent Visegrad Group meeting in Budapest today, Szijjártó described it is an alliance that is bold enough to “call a spade a spade” and speak frankly instead of being bound by the constraints of hypocritical and politically correct language.

The V4 is in the best state it can be in at just the right time, as the European Union is facing many serious challenges all at the same time, Minister Szijjártó said.

He added that in these turbulent times, the positions of the V4 hold more weight together than they would if its members were representing those opinions on their own.

One of the secrets to the V4’s success is their member states’ respect for one another, he said. The alliance has brought about “historic peace” in central Europe, the minister said, adding that the four countries have never had a greater stake in each other’s success than they do now.

In a debate about the future of the EU, Szijjártó said, Hungary’s ambassadors must represent the stance that security is the number one priority. The policy that encourages mass immigration should be ditched as the migrant crisis poses a threat and Hungary’s job is to protect itself.

As the best answers to the challenges facing the EU have been given at member state level and not at an EU level, Hungary is against transferring more powers to Brussels, he said.

Minister Szijjártó added that EU laws must be observed by all member states. Hungary does not accept the use of double standards nor does it accept that a member state can be criticized for keeping to the rules, he added.