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Austria is a natural partner of Hungary and V4

The prime ministers of the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) had talks with the Austrian Chancellor, and then held a joint press conference.

Mr Orbán highlighted that Austria has remained important for Central Europe as investor, market and trade partner, and Austria will be a key security partner also in the future because as regards the issue of migration “we are in the same shoes”. If migrants break through to Austria via Hungary, they will either stay there or move on to Germany. Therefore, it is also in Austria’s best interests that Hungary should be able to protect its borders successfully, he explained.

According to the Prime Minister, the greatest achievement of today’s summit is that they identified possible areas of cooperation, including migration, security, border protection, competitiveness, climate protection and enlargement. At the same time, they also identified areas of “non-cooperation”, including nuclear energy, he added.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

He took the view that the meeting was valuable because he had an opportunity to congratulate Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on the formation of his second government, and at the same time, they had the possibility to obtain first-hand information on his new government’s plans. The meeting was also important because the agenda featured European topics, including all major foreign policy issues, enlargement and the budget, he said.

He observed that this meeting was especially important for the V4 because it was a signal to the world that rather than seeking isolation, they want to cooperate with other European countries.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

Mr Orbán also said he suggested to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis that as the leader of the V4 he should recommend that if there is any conference about the future of Europe, they should also invite the Western Balkans countries seeking to gain admission to the EU as the issue of the future of Europe concerns them as well.

In answer to a question, the Prime Minister said the V4 countries share the same view in that cohesion funds should not be reduced in the interest of climate protection goals; however, they will see what happens at the upcoming negotiations. If we want more Europe, we need more money, but those additional funds should not be raised at the expense of old programmes, he stated.