Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press statement after the meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrád Four and Ukraine [full text in English]
September 7, 2016, Krynica-Zdrój
I extend a warm welcome to you all. If you will allow me, first I’d like to return to the words of the Prime Minister of Ukraine. There is a moral question here which weighs down on us. When Ukraine decided to change its history and to head out in a new direction, all it received from the European Union were words of support and encouragement. I repeat: only words of support and encouragement. It promised that the countries of the European Union would step by step be ready to implement the inclusion of Ukraine, as a Central European country, into the natural environment in which it belongs: the European Union. Over the past two years nothing has happened to further this. And whatever has happened, should not have happened at all – such as the Netherlands voting against Ukraine in a referendum. To put it plainly, the situation is extremely difficult, the European Union is struggling with its own internal troubles, and it is in a state of torpor as far as enlargement is concerned. The number of countries which continue to support Ukraine’s accession to the European Union is diminishing. Our four countries – the Visegrád countries – have remained friends of Ukraine, and have remained the countries which support Ukraine’s integration into the European Union as soon as possible. We admit that the European Union has difficulties, but this is no reason not to grant that which we are able to. What we could grant is visa-free travel, which does not cost anything – or if it does, it costs very little. It does not require us to carve off funds from our beleaguered budgets, and it does not raise complicated diplomatic issues. We must simply keep our word, the promise that we made to Ukraine, and must grant the citizens of Ukraine visa-free travel to the territory of the European Union. We are fully committed to this.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Regarding our preparations for the Bratislava summit, we can look on today’s meeting as a successful one. As far as we can see, it now appears to be widely accepted that Brexit is an enormous opportunity: it is a great chance to face up to our mistakes and weaknesses, and it highlights the clear and pressing need to correct some of our mistakes, the mistakes of the European Union. Today we have agreed unanimously that we need the European Union. A disunited Europe is always worse than a united Europe. But we do not need just any EU: we need a strong EU. Today the European Union is rich but weak – and this is the worst possible combination. This is what has brought down on us the trouble that we call migration, as millions set out to start a new life in this community, in the European Union – in a rich but weak community, which is unable to defend itself. And this is an uncontrolled historical process which pays no heed to our security. I agree with those who say that we must put an end to this process. We are Christian countries, and so we know what moral imperatives spring from our principles. We take the view that aid must be taken there, rather than the problems brought here. We would like to implement this policy, and this is why we support the concept – and as far as I can see, we all agree on this – that the efforts to curb uncontrolled migration should be taken as far south as possible. Today we spoke about Bulgaria as a particular priority. I support the countries which said today that providing swift assistance to Bulgaria is an urgent task. As for everything else, we shall see in Bratislava.
Thank you for your attention.