Both Hungary and Poland want to build a strong Europe and contribute to discussions and reforms aimed at Europe’s peaceful development, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, on his first official foreign visit following his re-election, said at joint press conference with Matusz Morawiecki, his Polish counterpart.
On the topic of the European Union budget, Orban said “we have a lot of work ahead”. The positions of Hungary and Poland are close but some other countries “have a very different view”, he added. “We want to protect our farmers’ interests,” he said. “Reducing the farm budget is not on: we don’t object to establishing new funds – since new tasks are always emerging – but this should not be at the expense of existing funds.”
Orban said that some difficult issues, such as migration, had been discussed at his meeting with Morawiecki. He said this was the most important issue regarding national sovereignty: who decides who gets to live within a country’s territory. The prime minister said Hungary was under strong pressure by people in Brussels who wanted to conclude the migration issue before the EU summit in June. This will happen only if the EU plan meets the Hungarian government’s expectations, he added.
He also noted that “the parliament now sitting in Brussels was elected before the migration crisis”. Decisions on migration should be left to the new European Parliament to be elected next year. “The principles of democracy must be respected.”
Efforts, he said, should be focused on border protection rather than the distribution of migrants. “We also have a heart … we are a Christian nation … so we know what it means to help … but we believe help should be taken to where it is needed instead of bringing troubles here,” Orban said. Under the “Hungary Helps” scheme, Hungary provides help to the Middle East and this work will continue, he added. Otherwise, Hungary’s contribution has been to help to protect Europe from illegal migrants coming through the Balkans, he said.
Orban said the launch of new services from Hungary by Polish airlines LOT was a milestone in economic development. LOT would hopefully further expand its activities in Hungary, he added.
Responding to a question, the prime minister said that the EU was important for Hungary because of its markets rather than its funds. What’s most important is to have a common market with fair competition, he added. He called for a “future-oriented” EU budget, adding that the “old” EU members “are actually profiting from us instead of giving money to us” because a large part of the money granted to Hungary “actually returns to the countries that contribute it”.
Orban thanked Poland and his Polish counterpart for their support granted to Hungary and to him personally over the past years. “Central Europe values friendships highly,” Orban said, adding that the Polish prime minister’s recent visit to Hungary to give him encouragement in the last days of the fierce election campaign would not be forgotten.
Hungary, he said, is learning a lot from recent developments in Poland and gaining courage regarding matters such as Poland’s family policy. Hungary will seek to adopt that policy, he added.
Further, he congratulated Poland on its “excellent figures” achieved in terms of economic growth.
The Hungarian premier also congratulated Poland on the upcoming 100th anniversary of its independence.
He concluded that it was the right decision for him to pay his first foreign visit – just as with his previous two first visits in 2010 and 2014 – to Warsaw as the prime minister-elect.
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