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The European future must be protected

At a press conference following his meeting with Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, the Prime Minister stated that there is a Christian culture, it is the way we live our lives, and we want to protect this way of life. This identity, he said, is important, and the Christian foundations must be protected.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák /MTI

Mr. Orbán said he thinks that the Schengen system can be protected “if we want to protect it”.

The external borders must be closed, while the internal borders must remain open, he declared, adding that while he does not support internal border controls, he does support defence of the external borders.

The Prime Minister said that in his role as Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz had been a good partner for Hungary in relation to migration, having agreed with the closure of the Western Balkan migration route. In those difficult days, Mr. Orbán said, Austria had sent police officers and border guards to help defend Hungary’s southern border – not only for the protection of Hungary, but also of Austria.

Border protection must be placed at the focus of refugee policy

The Hungarian prime minister highlighted that he and his Austrian counterpart have agreed that the migrant quota is not a solution.

People who have arrived in Europe illegally cannot remain here, he said, asserting that “rights cannot be based on illegality”.

Mr. Orbán said that he feels several European states located away from the external borders of the Schengen Area are not strongly committed to helping protect the Schengen regulations. In his opinion the distribution mechanism is also destroying Schengen, because there is also an attempt to force it onto countries that are protecting their borders against migrants. He hopes that the EU will return to the right path, and in this respect the debate on the new asylum system will be important, because that cannot be dissociated from border protection. A future European asylum system must not only deal with issues relating to the regulation of refugees, but must also deal with border protection, Prime Minister Orbán declared.

Mr. Orbán stressed that a major realignment is taking place in Europe, one element of which is that Central Europe is ever more visibly becoming the EU’s economic engine. During the next ten years, he explained, “our task is to do everything possible in the interests of further strengthening the already successful Central European region”, to ensure that the region becomes a determining factor in the European Union. This, he added, is also a good programme for Austria, since the latter understands Central Europe, the V4 and Western Europe alike.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

In Central Europe, “what is permanent is extremely valuable”, said Mr. Orbán, according to whom stability must be valued. For a long time efforts have been made to ensure that the V4 is stable, he said, and accordingly there are no plans to enlarge it, but its members would like to work together with Austria.

The nuclear power plant is not an Austrian-Hungarian issue

According to the Prime Minister, the Paks II project is not an Austrian-Hungarian issue, but a European issue, to which the parties are searching for a solution on European legal forums.

Mr. Orbán emphasised that everything possible will be done to ensure that the countries’ difference of opinion on nuclear energy does not have a negative effect on bilateral relations.

Greenpeace activists staged a demonstration against the Paks II project to coincide with Prime Minister Orbán’s arrival at the Austrian Chancellery.