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Mar 21, 2018

Viktor Orbán’s press statement following his talks with Manfred Weber, Chairman of the European People's Party group in the European Parliament

20 March 2018, Budapest

First of all, the parliamentary group leader has arrived from Bavaria, which also means Germany. Not long ago a new government was formed in Germany. It is important for us that we have first-rate relations with the Germans, and therefore also with the Bavarians. There is no doubt that the European position of Chairman Weber is the strongest; he is a member of the CSU [Christian Social Union], and he plays an important role in our policy related to the CSU. We are grateful to him for his assistance recently in relations between Hungary’s ruling parties and the CSU. We have never made a secret of the fact that we see Bavaria as a role model. We would like our country to be as strong and rich as Bavaria is. At the moment this seems to be a distant prospect, but we shall not abandon this goal. We have learnt much from both the successes and the mistakes of the Bavarians, and therefore we have always maintained a close, friendly relationship with the Bavarian political leadership of the day. I am convinced that Bavarian-Hungarian relations will continue to be a valuable European dimension in the future. I would especially like to congratulate Chairman Weber on the fact that the former president of the CSU, Mr. Seehofer, has become the Interior Minister in the government in Berlin. This awakens hope in us. In the minds of Hungarians, the Bavarians have always been seen as a fair people, and we are counting on the Bavarian interior minister in the German government always according Hungary the respect and recognition that we deserve. We already see signs of this, and so Bavarian-Hungarian relations can now add greatly to the improvement of German-Hungarian relations in general.

As far as European questions are concerned, here and now in the current Hungarian climate it sounds a little absurd to talk about the possible outcome of the European Parliament election in 2019, because first and foremost we are occupied with the Hungarian general election in April 2018. But sometimes governmental responsibility forces us to look forward beyond the end of our current mandate. Therefore today we also needed to consult on the subject of the next European election. In that election Fidesz will stand together with the team of the European People's Party, and we belong to the European People's Party. We are proud of this, and we see ourselves as a strong party in the European People's Party. It is true that we do not belong to the mainstream of the European People's Party, but are rather positioned to the right of that mainstream; as we jokingly expressed it, we are “the CSU of the European People's Party”. This means that within it we are an important party in the group which represents traditional Christian democratic values; but the European People's Party is a “big tent”, and our type of traditional Christian democratic parties also have a place within it. Therefore we are standing together in the election, and we have an interest in winning it. We want to win the 2019 European Parliament election, and we want to continue to take responsibility for the formation of the future of Europe.

In terms of content, there were two important things that I said to the Chairman. The first was that we think that Europe is full. We can talk about migrant policy and immigrant policy, and we can talk about many things; this is an important and pressing question, but when we talk about migration at a European level, I think that we must make it clear that Europe is full. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that Europe's external borders must be defended.

What is needed for Hungary, Bavaria, Germany – and indeed the entire European continent – is that we should be able and willing to defend the borders. Therefore at a European level we can only consent to new migrant regulations which guarantee the defence of the external borders. It is in this spirit that Hungary has submitted proposals for new migrant and immigration legislation to replace that which in our opinion is now more focused on the distribution of migrants. We should not focus on the distribution of migrants, and a mandatory migrant quota is out of the question, but we should instead focus on ensuring that illegal migrants cannot gain entry to Hungary and the territory of the European Union. This is why I say that Europe is full, and that its external borders must be defended. This is the starting-point for the Hungarian negotiating position, and as I see it this standpoint is gaining an increasing number of supporters in Europe. This is what happened this afternoon.

Thank you very much for your attention.