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Jul 06, 2017

Address by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after a meeting between the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the prime ministers of the Visegrád Four countries

4th July 2017, Budapest

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellency, Mr. President, Colleagues,

Breaking with our usual practice, this meeting was not held in the Hungarian Parliament Building. Hungary has assumed coordination of the work of the V4, and in the future we shall hold the larger plenary meetings – such as the one made possible by the visit of His Excellency President Sisi – in this building, the headquarters of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.

I welcome you all. Hungary has assumed coordination of the work of the V4, and the mission of the Hungarian presidency can be summed up in a single sentence. We want to strengthen the European Union, both internally and externally. Before receiving President Sisi, the four prime ministers held a meeting. On the agenda at that meeting were issues relating to the internal strengthening of the European Union, the state of the European economy, illegal migration and the issue of mass population movement. I don’t wish to talk about these at the moment. In the second part of today’s meeting we held a V4 + Egypt summit, which covered two central areas: terrorism, illegal migration and the stability of the Southern Mediterranean; and the current state of economic cooperation between Egypt and Central Europe, and opportunities for their development. In brief, I can tell you that the members of the V4 expressed their recognition and appreciation to the President of Egypt for the efforts with which he is attempting to stabilise his country’s region. There are millions of migrants in Egypt now, and providing care for them, preventing their onward movement and stabilising their situation is placing extraordinary burdens on Egypt and its government. We observe these efforts with appreciation, and are convinced that the efforts of the Honourable President and his government serve not only the protection and stabilisation of Egypt, but also that of the entire European Union. Hungary is in the southern half of the EU, and is one of the Central European countries closest to the region of instability; therefore we are especially grateful to His Excellency President Sisi for the efforts with which he is also protecting the borders of our country. We also spoke about the situation in Libya. A continually recurring topic in the European Union is how we could curb illegal migration arriving from Libya. Today we heard some important thoughts. Our task was to point out that Libya represents a huge lesson for the European Union.  We Westerners bear responsibility for the situation that has developed there, as we contributed to the destabilisation of the region by intervening in the life of that country without having a viable plan for resolution of the conflict. And we also share responsibility for the fact that Libya’s northern border has remained unguarded and unprotected, and has opened up towards Europe. In our talks with the President we drew the relevant conclusions, agreeing with His Excellency that we must divert all forces capable of containing the situation in Libya towards cooperation, so that Libya can once again have a strong government and a political leadership that is able to enforce the country’s laws. Finally, I would like to inform you that we find the potential for economic cooperation to be promising, but the level of cooperation between Central Europe and Egypt is still rather limited. It is far below its true potential, and we agreed with the Honourable President’s suggestion that we should set up a special cooperation scheme between Egypt and Central Europe which can bring these potential opportunities to fruition. Over the coming twelve months it will be my duty to formulate, set up and operate the optimal form of economic cooperation between the V4 and Egypt. I promised to do this, and I sincerely hope that we will be able to achieve tangible results.

Thank you for your attention.