The Visegrád Four will use the EUR 35 million intended for North Africa for the reinforcement of the Libyan coast guard in order to stop the flow of illegal migration heading for Europe, Szabolcs Takács, Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hungarian news agency MTI after his talks on Tuesday evening with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Mr Takács met with Mr Salvini after the reception held at the Hungarian Embassy in Rome to commemorate the national holiday of 23 October.

At the meeting the Minister of State confirmed that the Hungarian government supports Italy and the administration in Rome in its efforts against illegal immigration.

Mr Takács announced that they wish to use the EUR 35 million with which the V4 are contributing to the EU’s fund for North Africa specifically for the reinforcement of the Libyan coast guard.

“We understand and share the position of the Italian government that illegal immigrants heading for Europe must be stopped at the African shores, rather than being distributed in Europe”, the Minister of State said. He stressed that Italy seeks to achieve this, inter alia, by supporting the Libyan coast guard, and thanks to the funding provided by the Italian government, the coast guard of the North African country is able to procure boats and other equipment in order to take action against people smugglers by stopping vessels full of migrants from setting out and turning back boats that are already on their way. He added that the V4 wish to help with these efforts with their contribution.

Mr Takács observed that by having banned from Italian ports NGO vessels transporting migrants, Italy proved that illegal immigration can also be stopped at sea. He took the view that the Italian migration policy led by Matteo Salvini sets an example that illegal immigration need not be accepted: we do not have to live together with it and we do not need to manage it either. “We share the view that if we stop illegal immigration outside Europe, there will be no internal European dispute about it”, Mr Takács stated.