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Hungary: Macron’s Migrant ‘Blackmail’ Plans Endanger Unity of EU

French President Emmanuel Macron attends the OECD ministerial council meeting on "Refounding Multilateralism", in Paris, France, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Macron warned against trade wars in an impassioned speech about international cooperation Wednesday, two days before the Trump administration decides whether to hit Europe with punishing new tariffs. (Philippe Wojazer/Pool …
Philippe Wojazer/ AP
VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has condemned the Macron-led proposals to tie EU funding to “solidarity” with its progressive immigration policies, as the bloc gears up for European Parliament elections in 2019 set to be defined by the battle over migration.

Hungary’s chief diplomat Péter Szijjártó told the Austrian daily Die Presse that his country has rejected threats from Paris to stop European Union funding to members who fail to show “solidarity” over the forced redistribution of migrants.

“This is blackmail, we are sick of it,” the foreign minister said on Saturday, and defended Hungary’s record for showing real solidarity by enacting strict border controls to protect Europe, preventing hundreds of thousands more migrants from flooding into the continent.

Rather than forcing the EU closer together through blackmail, the senior Hungarian sees it as threatening to tear it apart, saying that “Those [European leaders], however, who similarly to the French President would like to make the payment of cohesion funding dependent on subjective conditions are endangering the unity of the European Union.”

The European Commission’s proposed 2021-2017 budget, which Hungary will be vetoing, aims to distribute funds under criteria based on “cohesion and values” and compliance with the ‘rule of law’ — which would affect Central European nations and others that reject mass migration or other progressive policies.

The notion of withholding EU funds as a form of punishment to nations that reject the bloc’s immigration and asylum policies originated with the likes of Swedish Member of European Parliament Cecilia Wilkström in January 2017, gaining support in February 2018 from German Chancellor Merkel and EU Budget and Human Rights Commissioner Günther Oettinger.

The most vocal proponent has been globalist French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, having led the charge for a centralised EU budget with support from Merkel, who threatened sanctions on Poland for refusing migrants as candidate, said that it was a “duty” of European nations to accept migrants, and accused those who rejected them of “betraying” the EU.

Macron clashed recently with Hungary and its ally Italy, led by the anti-establishment, populist League/Five Star Movement coalition, who attacked the globalist as leader of the bloc’s pro-migrant parties.

In turn, Macron declared war on the Eurosceptic axis, saying that if Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini “want to see me as their chief adversary, they are right.”

Orbán and Salvini met last week to announce they would form a pro-sovereignty front ahead of the European Parliamentary elections next year, with the Hungarian premier saying: “There are two sides at the moment in Europe. One is led by Macron, who is supporting migration. The other one is supported by countries who want to protect their borders.”

Italy and the conservative-populist government of Austria have become close associates of the Central European Visegrád group, with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Sunday calling illegal immigration a “threat to European civilisation”.

Analysis by Reuters found that pro-sovereignty, Eurosceptic parties are set to make gains in the elections, boosted by the growing support for of populist and conservative national governments in Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Poland and well as the rise of right-wing parties across Western Europe.

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