Prime Minister Viktor Orbán remained in Brussels following a summit of heads of state and government of the EU Member States, to hold an informal meeting on the future of a reduced EU following Brexit.
PM Orbán stressed that there is a need to define Europe’s place in the new world order emerging after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, in order to determine what all this means to us, and what consequences it will have
Despite all the difficulties, Europe continues to be the best place in the world, and the goal is to maintain this position, the prime minister said. He added that European culture, civilization and economy have achieved unprecedented results in the period since the Second World War, and there is every chance of Europe being able to offer its citizens the best and happiest way of life in the world.
Regarding the future of the EU, he stated that it must be made clear that there shall be no withdrawal of powers from the Member States.
PM Orbán also stated that for Hungary the re-election of Donald Tusk as president of the European Council was about Europe’s operability, rather than about one Member State or another.
The prime minister said he was unable to keep the promise he had made to Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s governing party, because Warsaw’s rival candidate – Member of the European Parliament Jacek Saryusz-Wolski – had left the EPP before the meeting, and thus Tusk remained the sole EPP candidate.
He added that before the EU summit he had written about the situation to his Polish counterpart, Prime Minister Beata Szydło, and so “no one should have been surprised”.
The prime minister said that the Poles could not have won this battle. The decision must be accepted, however, even if there is a Member State that finds it unacceptable.
PM Orbán also discussed the new Hungarian migration legislation, the leaders of the Member States did not object to it, as it coincides with current proposals being urged by Germany and Austria.
In essence, the legislation will ensure that not a single migrant who fails to clarify the reason for their entry will be able to travel on to Germany from the territory of Hungary or to move freely in Europe, he said, adding that everyone will be detained until the reasons for their arrival have been fully established.
The Hungarian position is a consistent one and, as well as representing Hungarian interests, it also coincides with those of Germany and Austria, PM Orbán said.
The prime minister stressed that the task is not for migration to be “humanely and well” managed, but for migration pressure to be resisted.
The goal of Hungary is to stop migrants from coming to Europe, he said.
If a country lets migrants in, it should not send them on, as Hungary does not wish to take in migrants, and does not wish to change either its cultural or its ethnic composition.
On the subject of injuries sustained by migrants, he said that he is not aware of a single such incident occurring in the territory of Hungary. He observed that each and every one of these reported incidents took place in the territory of Serbia.
The Prime Minister said that he will protect Hungarian police and soldiers “whose duty is to protect us” with the utmost resolve and competence.
PM Orbán also announced that Hungary will set up a monitoring and tracking committee to monitor whether the situation of Hungarians in Austria is deteriorating due to statutory changes contemplated there.
The prime minister said that he had bilateral talks in Brussels with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, and had let him know that if Hungary experiences any deterioration in the situation of Hungarians working in Austria, “a similar, proportionate situation will emerge” on Hungary’s side of the border. He added that Hungary will also take action in EU forums to ensure that the situation in Austria is brought back within the legal boundaries of the EU.
The Hungarian prime minister stressed that until very recently Austrian-Hungarian relations had been working well, and there is no reason for this to change. He said that there is mutual agreement that a general deterioration in relations between the two countries must be avoided, and conflicts should be confined to the specific topics.