At a press conference in Prague, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that the UN’s global migration compact is misconceived and encourages illegal migration.

Mr. Orbán highlighted that there has been an unprecedented rate of improvement in figures for economic cooperation between Hungary and the Czech Republic, defence cooperation is making good progress on the foundations of mutual trust, and the two countries are cooperating in a number of sectors.

DownloadPhoto: Balázs Szecsődi

He said that it has been a long time since Hungarian-Czech economic cooperation was at such a high level, the volume of trade and investments is rising, and both countries support investments in each other. He noted that the Hungarian pharmaceuticals industry is doing well in the Czech Republic and Hungary is also present in the energy sector, while the Czech Republic is present in Hungarian agriculture and telecommunications.

The Prime Minister described the defence industry as a dynamically expanding area in bilateral cooperation, adding that this is not simply a matter of business: it only works well between countries which trust each other.

He said that there is a real need for a rapid rail network linking the capitals of the Visegrád countries (the V4: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland).

Mr. Orbán observed that Czech companies are also participating in the operation and development of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, and both countries agree that there is a need for nuclear energy.

DownloadPhoto: Balázs Szecsődi

The Prime Minister said that in recent years European politics has become harsher, and in this inhospitable terrain only the brave will be left standing. Recently, he said, the Czech Republic has taken a courageous stand on a number of difficult issues.

Mr. Orbán hailed as a great success the V4’s offer of a significant sum of money to Libyan programmes for the prevention of migration, and urged for this initiative to be extended to Morocco and Tunisia.

In light of the fact that the Czech foreign minister has recently removed his country’s embassy in Budapest from the list of high-priority Czech diplomatic representations, Mr. Orbán said that governing in a coalition is a difficult and complex science, but in any event Hungary wants to remain an ally of the Czech Republic.

The UN’s migration compact is a misconceived document

According to the Prime Minister, those who sign the compact are exposing their own citizens to major risks.

He stressed that the document lays down principles which will encourage illegal migration, rather than reduce it. All such documents will later serve as regularly cited references in specific cases and legal procedures, he said.

According to Mr. Orbán, mass migration is an issue of such gravity that no decision should be made without asking the people, but in Europe today politics is becoming increasingly elitist: people are unable to voice their opinions, or leaders simply disregard them. Leaders in Central Europe, however, want to remain democrats, he said, and do not make decisions which are contrary to the people’s will. He added that the issue of migration is testing the democratic nature of political systems.

In answer to a question regarding the fact that another vote is being held on the migrant (or “humanitarian”) visa in the European Parliament (EP), Mr. Orbán said that many are following with interest the rule of law measures being devised by the EP, and that it seems as if votes must be repeated until the “correct” result is achieved. He added that the institution which sees itself as the guardian of the rule of law is unhesitatingly violating rule of law norms.

He stated that the conclusion to be drawn from all this is that the time has come for the mandate of the EP in its current composition to come to an end, and for “the tired MEPs to go home”, to be replaced by new ones who understand that we have entered a new era. Five years ago, he said, Europe was part of a world which was different from that now, and neither the present EP nor the European Commission are able to keep up with the times and adopt the new approach that this new world requires.

He stressed that new members will also have to be appointed to the Commission: members who will direct that institution from its current misguided political course back to where it should be.

He said that the directions must be set by Member States, and not by the Commission. We do not need a political Commission, he stated, adding that if this order is restored, then the rule of law in Europe will also be in a better state than it is now.

DownloadPhoto: Balázs Szecsődi

In answer to a question about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Prime Minister said that “we are a pro-Ukraine government”, which stands by Ukraine; but while the Hungarian government is pro-Ukraine, in Ukraine there is an anti-Hungarian government. Nevertheless, he stressed, Hungary will not change its position, and will continue to stand by Ukraine in this conflict.

As part of his visit to Prague Mr. Orbán was also scheduled to meet the Czech president Milos Zeman, and later have talks with Radek Vondráček, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic.