Hungary is looking to forge alliances with the Austrian and Italian governments with relation to asylum policy

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

“Hungary’s intent to work in closer cooperation with Austria and Italy on asylum policy”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Reuters on Monday.

Mr. Szijjártó said the Austrian People’s Party-Freedom Party government and the Italian centre-right coalition that won the elections in March have a similar position on the issue as the states of Central Europe.

“Accordingly, it is obvious that we will be cooperating in future”, the Minister said in an interview for the Reuters news agency.

“This is not aimed at the western part of Europe, but against migration, and it serves our own interests, because in our view security comes first”, he underlined.

The politician also stressed that the Visegrád Group, i.e. the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, are not planning enlargement, but this does not mean they will not be striving to forge closer links with countries that have a similar way of thinking.

“We would definitely like to develop closer and more effective cooperation with Austria, and hopefully also with the future Italian government”, he pointed out.

On Friday, People’s Party Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that during Austria’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year it would like to concentrate on preventing a possible new wave of immigration instead of on resettlement, which is dividing the European Union. Chancellor Kurz met with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in late January, and promised tighter cooperation with relation to asylum policy.

Reuters also asked the Hungarian Foreign Minister with relation to the video about Vienna that was recently published by Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár, and which generated a significant level of public outcry. In the video, which was posted on his Facebook page, the Minister said immigrants are “pushing white Christians” out of one of the districts of the Austrian capital. Facebook initially removed the video, but later restored it.

Mr. Szijjártó said he didn’t regard the Minister’s comments as unfortunate.

“It is a well-known fact in Austria that the number of Muslim children in Vienna’s schools is almost the same as the number of Austrian children. This is a subject of open debate”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade pointed out.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)


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