The Balkan migration route must be kept closed
24. 07. 2018.
At a joint press conference in Podgorica on Tuesday, after a meeting with Montenegrin prime minister Duško Marković, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán offered Hungary’s assistance in managing Montenegro’s migration-related difficulties.

Mr. Orbán stressed that when Montenegro defends its own borders, it is also defending Hungary and the whole of the European Union, and that Hungary both favours the preservation of identity and protects its territorial integrity .

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

The Hungarian prime minister also said that in terms of migration the only achievement to date has been closure of the Balkan route. This achievement, he said, is associated with Hungary, and it is now recognised across the whole of Europe. He declared that the Balkan route must be kept closed, and every country in the Balkan region must be defended.

In answer to a question, he observed that Europe is continuing to make serious mistakes, as it does not want to acknowledge that it must refrain from any measures which could be seen in Africa or the Middle East as invitations to migrants. “We fail to notice that in Africa and the Middle East certain statements and measures are interpreted as invitations”, he said. He pointed out that the EU is sending out ambiguous signals, which both invite migrants and at the same time say “do not come”. As a result, he said, people are drowning at sea due to Europe’s politically untenable and inhumane policy.

In his view, in the European parliamentary elections next May people will vote on the issue of migration.

Speaking about Hungarian-Montenegrin relations, he said that there are no tactical or strategic conflicts of interest between the two countries.

He stated that Montenegro has the chance to join Europe’s economically most successful political and geographical region: Central Europe. He added that in political terms the Hungarian government sees Montenegro as a Central European country.

Mr. Orbán said he believes there is a realistic possibility for Montenegro to join the EU in the near future; in his view, Podgorica is effectively ready for membership. He said that he does not accept claims that there are obstacles to Montenegro’s accession in terms of politics, the economy or the rule of law. “If there was the will for it, Montenegro could join the EU tomorrow morning – or the following morning at the latest”, he said, promising that Hungary will play an active role in creating such a European will. He underlined that the EU also needs Montenegro.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

He added that if Montenegro has good fortune, the European elections will bring about a European Parliament and a European Commission which are more open to EU enlargement.

In closing, he observed that Hungary is glad to take part in modernisation of the Montenegrin economy. The purpose of an economy is not to make a profit, but to enable people to live well, he stated – but a modern economy can only be built on the basis of market principles.

Mr. Marković thanked Mr. Orbán for Hungary’s assistance in the defence of his country’s borders, noting that while at present Montenegro does not need to take up the offer of a fence, such a need may well emerge in the future.

He indicated, however, that quite large numbers of migrants are arriving in Montenegro from the direction of Albania.

The Prime Minister of Montenegro highlighted that Hungarian-Montenegrin relations are at their highest level, that both countries are members of NATO, and that economic cooperation is continuously developing.

He thanked Hungary for having supported Podgorica on its path towards NATO accession, and also for assisting in its efforts to join the European Union. “The EU is a top priority for us”, he stressed, indicating that his country will continue to embrace European values and will strengthen the democratisation of society.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

He also expressed Montenegro’s welcoming attitude to Hungarian investors in his country.

Mr. Orbán arrived in the Montenegrin capital on Monday, and has also been invited to a working dinner by head of state Milo Đukanović.

At the end of his official visit the Hungarian prime minister was due to have talks with Ivan Brajović, President of the Parliament of Montenegro.