French president Emmanuel Macron has accused Central European countries resisting mass immigration of betraying EU principles and taking advantage of the bloc.
The former banker and Socialist Party economy minister declared that “European countries that do not respect the rules should pay the full political consequences” – a reference to the bloc’s ongoing struggle primarily with Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic over its attempts to impose compulsory migrant quotas on member-states.
The 39-year-old accused the countries of “a double betrayal”, alleging they had decided “to abandon EU principles, turn their back on Europe and have a cynical approach to the [European] Union which gives them money, without respecting its values”.
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski was unimpressed, saying: “I hope that President Macron, who will be at the European Council today and tomorrow and plans to meet [Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło], explains his words to Poles, Hungarians and the other nations of Central Europe.”
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) May 6, 2017
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has been Central Europe’s most persistent voice of defiance against the pro-mass migration consensus in Brussels, has previously claimed that politicians like Macron thank his government behind closed doors for their robust action against the migrant crisis, blaming “political double-dealing” and a “culture of hypocrisy” for the constant barrage of public criticism.
“Hungary is situated on Europe’s external border,” he explained to Kossuth Rádió in April 2017. “So if Hungary’s external border is endangered, then Europe’s external border is endangered. Hungary is simultaneously protecting its own external borders and Europe’s external borders.
“And if we weren’t protecting Europe’s external borders, the Austrians and the Germans would be in big trouble, [as] at that time Hungary was unable to protect Europe’s external borders and millions of migrants marched through Hungary towards Austria and Germany.”
Hungarian PM: Weak borders mean “no security or development, just chaos, fear, anger and trucks driving into people” https://t.co/tmSPzA4Vca
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) June 21, 2017
The Czech government, for its part, has indicated it would rather face EU sanctions than be forced to take in migrants, citing the security risks associated with taking in people who have not been properly vetted.
“The Czech Republic does not plan to adopt more migrants,” said Interior Minister Milan Chovanec in April 2017.
“It is then up to the government to assess if it’s worth paying the penalty or not. In my opinion – yes. You cannot let people here without running all the checks,” he added.