Hungarians and Germans continue to remain tied together by a close friendship, and cooperation between the two countries extends to a great many areas, from defence policy to digitisation, Justice Minister Judit Varga stressed on Wednesday in Berlin where she had talks with several senior German politicians and attended the meeting of the Hungarian-German Forum.

The 30th anniversary of the opening of the Hungarian border which led the way to German unity and the unification of Europe “is a good opportunity to stop for a while, and think about the fact that for centuries our nations have been tied together by a close friendship,” the Minister said in a statement given to the public service media.

Regarding the events of the Hungarian-German Forum, she highlighted that this is a very useful meeting also from the respect that “political opponents sit down and discuss their differences” as it is possible to find a common denominator on every issue.

Including migration policy, in the context of which “German mainstream politics, too, is beginning to understand that it is better to place the emphasis on the resolution of problems locally,” and “with common development projects we must achieve that people should not be forced to leave their countries”.

In migration policy there is a need for tolerance above all, the Minister added, highlighting that Hungary has never criticised other countries for pursuing policies that are different following from their historical traditions and social arrangements.

She said Hungarian-German cooperation is very diverse, and “we should talk about this, the essence of the matter and the facts, rather than insult one another in the disguise of the rule of law”.

Mrs Varga stressed that Europe’s unity must be created over and over again, “from case to case, from day to day, from file to file,” and this work must be pursued in the spirit that Europe is a community of strong nation states that respect one another; a community which does not forget about its Christian roots and “does not want to become an immigrant continent”.

At a stage discussion of the Hungarian-German Forum about the reinforcement of Europe, the Minister also said that a new, common spirituality must be built which is based on mutual respect and the desire to learn about one another’s history and traditions. Regarding Hungarian-German relations, she observed that while other nations respect the German people, the Hungarians do not only respect them, but also love them.

Katja Leikert, Member of the Bundestag for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), deputy head of the joint parliamentary group of CDU and the Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) highlighted that we must put an end to the “absurd debates” regarding the 2015 migration flow that seeks to determine who made mistakes about what. We should instead concentrate on making the protection of the external borders effective and creating a new European asylum system which is “fair” and in which every country collectively bears the burdens and not a single country seeks to withdraw from the common responsibilities.

Manual Sarrazin, Member of the Bundestag for the Greens, the politician in his parliamentary group dealing with Central Europe said, among others, that the Hungarian government, too, is to blame for the fact that its asylum policy is criticised as it allows “doubts to emerge” in connection with the humane conditions of the temporary housing of asylum-seekers and presents itself in debates in Germany and Europe as an “anti-refugee” political force.

The politician of the left-leaning political party added that while the distribution of asylum-seekers among Member States on the basis of quotas would be a good solution, in the wake of the debates of recent years one can conclude that this concept is “politically dead”.

Mrs Varga stressed that the protection of the common European borders, too, forms part of European solidarity, as do the efforts which are aimed at eliminating the causes of migration, and ensuring that those who are nonetheless forced to leave their countries should find help as close to their homes as possible.

Regarding the perception of Hungary’s refugee policy in the German press, the Minister observed that there appear to be “systemic problems” in the German media.