“The Visegrád Group (V4) has never been as strong and effective as it is now; it is the EU’s closest and most effective alliance”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Kossuth Radio’s “Sunday Papers” program.

With relation to the fact that Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the V4 on 1 July and that the Austrian Chancellor recently criticised the V4, Mr. Szijjártó explained: “The very fact that the Western Europeans are so occupied with us confirms the fundamental truth that Visegrád cooperation has never been as close and effective as it is today”. “This is the European Union’s closest and most effective alliance”, de declared.

In the Foreign Minister’s opinion “The combined voice of the four countries travels much further and in much louder than if we were speaking separately, and the jointly exerted will of the four countries in European decision-making has become a factor that even large Western European countries must take into account”. “This cooperation has never been so strong, and the timing is also excellent because the EU is facing historic challenges, and the answers provided to these challenges will also decide the future of Hungary and Central Europe”, he explained.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that there are countries that have expressed their wish to become members or closely cooperating partners of the Visegrád Group, and that he cannot deny the fact that “Austria is, or was, also one such country”, and several neighbouring countries “have also asked this question recently”. “This is also an indication of the fact that the V4 has become a true brand, which it is good to be a member of, or would be good to be a member of”, he said. “The members of the V4 have, however decided that they will not be enlarging the Group, because its effectiveness could easily be lost if there were more members”, he added.

The Foreign Minster noted, however, that “V4 +” format meetings would also continue under the Hungarian presidency, and it is in this spirit that negotiations have already been held with the President of Egypt, we will be speaking with Israel towards the middle of the month, and a meeting of foreign ministers including Croatia, Slovenian and Austria is being held on Monday.

Mr. Szijjártó emphasised that the strength of the V4 lies in the fact that “the four countries are practicing rational politics”, and it was no accident that they have become the EU’s engine of growth and most secure region.

The Minister also said that Hungary would never accept the mandatory resettlement quotas or allow illegal immigrants to set foot on its territory. This is not just our opinion, but also that of the Visegrád Group countries, and more and more European countries are recognising the fact that “the migration policy applied so far was misguided”.

“If anyone compares what Hungary has been saying with relation to migration for the past two and a half years to what Western Europeans are saying now, they will see that the two standpoints are extremely similar”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.

“Brussels’ mistaken policy and the activities of certain NGOs have not only resulted in Europe having to face a very severe threat of terrorism”, but has also endangered huge numbers of people in view of the fact that they “encourage people who entrust their lives to people smugglers and rubber dinghies to set out for Europe across the Mediterranean”, he said, adding that “In addition, they want to let everyone into Europe in an uncontrolled manner”.

With regard to U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw on Thursday, the Hungarian Foreign Minister spoke about the fact that the event was historically significant in view of the fact that President Trump had made it clear that Central Europe is indeed important from the point of view of American foreign policy, in addition to which he “gave a value-based speech of the kind that we have not heard from a European politician, and especially not from an American politician, for a very long time”: he spoke about family, and about faith. “It is no accident that we were glad that Donald Trump won the American presidential election, because it is clear that the foreign policy which he represents is much better for the world than the foreign policy represented by the former democratic administration”, he said. “The foreign policy direction represented by President Trump, according to which every country’s unique national characteristics must be respected, could ease tensions with relation to solving conflicts throughout the world”, he added.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)