Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press conference after a working meeting of the Visegrád Four
13 October 2017, Bratislava

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’d like to welcome you all. I’ll confine my comments to a few brief sentences. My message is about the debate on the future of the European Union, which will be the subject of an upcoming meeting with President Tusk. First of all, I’d like to remind us all that the Visegrád countries have released two documents in which they set out their views on the future of Europe. If you haven’t read them yet, this is an excellent opportunity to read those superb documents. I’d also like to remind everyone that in January we’re having another major conference, which will focus precisely on this: on the future of Europe and the status of the debates on this topic. The Hungarian position concerning the future of the EU matches that of the other Visegrád countries, and can be summed up by saying that if we want to move forward, we should not start by taking a step back. In a number of areas, however, we can see that we are indeed taking a step back from the results we’ve already achieved: the Schengen Agreement and the fate of the Schengen Area is the most obvious example. In this room I can see some others of my age; you may remember that the situation in Europe a few years ago was that the external borders were closed and the internal borders were open. If you take a look at Europe today, you’ll find that the external borders are open and the internal borders are closed. This is despite the fact that a year ago right here in Bratislava, as guests of Prime Minister Fico, we laid down that one of the most important tasks for the prime ministers was to return to Schengen: one of the most important points of the Bratislava Declaration was a return to Schengen rules.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The institutions of the European Union have clearly failed: neither the Commission, nor the Council, nor the European Parliament has defended the Schengen Agreement. This is why we are where we are today. I am convinced that we cannot and we must not continue like this: European institutions must observe the European laws, they must observe the agreements, and we must return to the Schengen Agreement.

My last remark is related to trust in the institutions of the European Union. What I say to you now is my personal opinion: in my view, there is no such thing as a European people – there are Slovaks, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Germans, and a great many other peoples. If we are to strengthen trust in Europe and the legitimacy of Europe, we must strengthen the Member States. The road to a stronger European Union leads through the strengthening of the Member States and the strengthening of their national institutions.

Thank you for your attention.