Hungary’s position on illegal migration, which makes strong borders the first priority, has long been at odds with the approach of some in Brussels, who put more emphasis on providing “better management of migration,” rather than stopping it.
On a recent official visit to Milan, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reaffirmed his position on illegal migration stating that “Hungary is being attacked because it has proven that borders can be protected, while Brussels said that migrants cannot be stopped and must be allowed to enter”. The Visegrád Group of countries want to stop illegal migration altogether.
In this regard, PM Orbán has an ally in Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister, and expressed support for what he referred to as “the first Mediterranean politician that seeks to stop migrants”. He added that Salvini sees it as his mission to prove that illegal migrants can be stopped not only on land but also at sea.
Bilateral ties between the two countries have improved significantly since the change of government in Italy. Indeed PM Orbán said that cooperation with Italy’s previous governments was “very bad” because those cabinets were “constantly offending Hungarians.”
But much has change, and with regard to the new relationship, PM Orbán called Matteo Salvini his “hero” and said that he had “some experience to share with him” and that his government was supporting his endeavors to stop the migrant flow.
PM Orbán added that it’s not only about stopping the influx of migrants but also a matter of returning illegal migrants already in Europe, and that they should not be distributed among member states. Otherwise, “the humans smugglers have won” and “immigrants would keep coming in further waves”.