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A strong start to the year: two EU PMs visit Budapest in two days

In his Irish counterpart’s company Mr Orbán said in the Parliament Building: “This is a strong start to the year; Prime Ministers of two EU Member States visited Budapest in two days”. On Wednesday Mr Orbán had talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

At the Thursday afternoon working visit, the parties discussed the state of the EU, fiscal, migration and agricultural policy issues and Brexit, said the Prime Minister who believes that Hungary and Ireland share similar views on important questions that determine the future of Europe.

He said that he and Leo Varadkar agreed that the EU can become strong if each of the national economies comprising the EU is strong on its own. “If we want a strong EU, everyone has to do their own job at home”, he said.

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Photo: Gergely Botár

Regarding migration, he said, he made it clear to his negotiating partner that “Hungary is not against anyone”, but insists on its own identity, culture and the results it has achieved. Hungary stands on the foundations of legality, he stated.

He also said that “we never celebrated the chaos and anarchy that characterised the protection of European borders in 2015-2016”. The Schengen regulations must be observed, the external borders of the EU must be protected and kept closed, while the internal borders must be kept open, he stressed.

In the context of the Brexit process Mr Orbán reassured the Irish Prime Minister that Hungary will support the enforcement of specific Irish criteria during the exit talks.

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Photo: Gergely Botár

Regarding tax policy issues the Prime Minister confirmed that Hungary does not regard tax harmonisation as a desirable direction because “taxation is an important part of competition”. “We would not like to see any regulations in the EU that would tie Hungary’s hands on the issue of fiscal policy”, he said.

The agenda of the meeting also featured the issue of agricultural subsidies as agriculture is important for both countries.

Hungary has a vested interest in there being no change in material issues concerning the EU’s current agricultural policy, so that agriculture in the whole of Europe should be allocated the same level of funding during the fiscal planning regarding the coming years as it has received in the years before, Mr Orbán stated.

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Photo: Gergely Botár

The Prime Minister mentioned that some ten years ago Ireland was compelled to tackle major financial challenges, but Dublin has come a very long way, and Hungary therefore doffs its hat to the performance of the Irish people.