Visegrad Four to boycott migration summit

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (R) and Slovakian Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini attend the handover of the V4 presidency following the summit of the V4 (Visegrad Group) countries and Austria in Varkert Bazaar in Budapest, Hungary, 21 June 2018. Slovakia will preside the V4 alliance from 01 July 2018 for a one-year term. According to reports, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban announced that none of Visegrad Group countries Prime Ministers will attend the informal meeting on migration and asylum issues in Brussels on 24 June. EPA-EFE/SZILARD KOSZTICSAK HUNGARY OUT

Visegrad Four to boycott migration summit


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The Visegrad Four will boycott the mini EU migration summit on Sunday.

The announcement came followed a head of state meeting hosted by Victor Orban. The meeting was joined by Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Orban said the meeting was not meaningful as there was no consensus on “warmed up” past proposals; “… We don’t belong to this migrant-loving group of friends, and neither do we want to partake,” Orban said.

Orban’s dismissal of the summit was echoed by Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have called for the EU’s border management agency (Frontex) to be strengthened and largely agree with setting up processing camps outside the EU. However, the four states staunchly oppose an EU-wide quota system for the distribution of new arrivals across the union.

Ten EU member states are committed to the summit, including Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, and France.

Austria and the Visegrad Four were the first countries to seal their Schengen borders, closing down the refugee route in 2016. The sealing of the borders became less relevant after an EU-Turkey agreement that disrupted the flow via Greece.

From September 2015 to autumn 2016 more than one million asylum seekers made their way to Europe, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pressure is now intensifying on the route via Italy and Austria has repeatedly closed the borders. Still, Kurz says he wants to strive for a “Europe that is defending us,” advocating for increased resources for Frontex.

Although Austria was second only to Sweden in per capita reception of asylum seekers, the Visegrad Four and the Baltic States are not major host countries for migrants and refugees. Italy and Greece are demanding that all EU member states participate in burden sharing and staunchly oppose repatriations of asylum seekers and migrants making their way to Western Europe. Austria want to see Frontex capacity rising by 10,000 staff.

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