“The Visegrád Group (V4) is one regional cooperation that is not aimed against anyone, but which helps EU decision-making through the formulation of a joint opinion”, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office stressed at the conference held in Budapest on Friday, marking the end of the Hungarian Presidency of the V4.

“Hungary has an interest in a stable German government”, Gergely Gulyás declared at the “V4 and Germany in Dialogue” conference organised by the Andrássy German Language University, referring to Hungary’s important political and economic relations with Germany.

He said that with relation to migration it can be observed that a German domestic policy dispute is growing to become a European-level one. With relation to this issue, Hungary has always contingently represented the position according to which: “the protection of the external border is vital to ensuring that the best acquis of the European Union are not endangered”, Mr. Gulyás stressed.

According to the Minister, “it has been possible to violate the commitments relating to the Schengen Zone without consequences for years, and what we are seeing is that the same European Union that is happy to talk down to others with relation to the rule of law is standing by without a word while some countries are not fulfilling their obligations with relation to border protection”.

“To take a further step towards abnormality, what happens after this is not that countries that have undertaken to protect the external border but are incapable of doing so are hit with sanctions, but the European Union is instead demanding solidarity with relation to those who have violated the regulations and the consequences of these violations of law”, the Minister added. “The EU has a joint asylum policy, but it has no migration policy, meaning the solution is to respect the decisions of individual member states, even if they conflict”, he said.

Mr. Gulyás said one of the key issues with relation to the EU-related disputes of recent years is whether we can successfully determine in what areas we must cooperate, including defence, security and economic policy, and in what fields we must respect the differing interests of various nations, while respecting those differences.

“There is no alternative to European cooperation”, he declared, explaining that it is very important that we determine the areas in which cooperation can or cannot be deepened further in a rational manner. With relation to the latter, he called plans for a joint EU budget “a major step towards a United States of Europe”, which the Hungarian Government does not support.

With relation to EU enlargement, he indicated that Hungary is the greatest supporter of the integration of the Balkan states, because for instance “it isn’t Serbia that is not ready to join the European Union, but the European Union that is not ready to take on more members”.

He said the case of Ukraine was much more difficult, explaining that: “We must also not close off our eastern neighbour from the chance to join the EU, but we should also not project the illusion that this could happen within the next ten years”.

Former Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) MP Tobias Zech explained with relation to the dispute on migration ongoing in Germany: “Both citizens and Germany’s partners are expecting existing regulations to be upheld, as they were prior to 2015”, adding that in his opinion if the state of affairs is not put in order with relation to this issue then “we must put the question: to what extent can we continue to cooperate?”.

With relation to his party’s standpoint, Mr. Zech explained that without protecting the EU’s external borders it is impossible to protect the internal market, a significantly more targeted foreign policy is required, and a “joint European path” must be determined, amongst others with relation to developing the communities defence capabilities, also calling for the development of a joint Africa and China policy.

“If we want to develop Europe’s success story further, we must think in terms of cooperation”, he said, recommending the exploitation of the opportunities inherent in diversity, rather than unification.