Italy and Hungary announced they will form a populist front ahead of European Parliament elections next year, where they will challenge a bloc aligned with Emmanuel Macron, who this week outlined his vision for a globalised EU superstate which revolves around “human rights”.
The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, and the Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, have said the two countries are “walking down the same path” ahead of next May’s elections, which are set to be a battleground on the issue of migration.
“European elections are coming. We have to change a lot of things,” said Orbán, speaking at a press conference after the pair met in Milan on Tuesday.
“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. Hungary and Italy belong to the latter.
“Hungary has shown that we can stop migrants on land. Salvini has shown migrants can be stopped at sea,” noted Orbán, whose government cut illegal immigration by more than 99 per cent after rolling out a series of powerful border fences, in defiance of talking points from liberal leaders claiming ‘walls don’t work’.
The Central European leader contrasted the migration policy stance of Brussels, shared by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as Socialist Spain and Macron’s France, of merely seeking “better management” of illegal immigration from the third world to that of the Visegrád nations, who demand the influx be stopped completely.
Anything other than the Visegrád stance would mean “the human smugglers have won” because “immigrants would keep coming in further waves”, he told the press conference, urging Europe send newcomers back rather than spreading them throughout the bloc.
“We must send migrants back to their countries. Brussels says we cannot do it. They also had said it was impossible to stop migrants on land, but we did it,” he said.
At the meeting with Salvini earlier in the day, Orbán praised his success in challenging the status quo on migration by refusing to allow migrant-laden NGO vessels dock at the country’s ports, telling the Italian leader: “Europe’s security hinges on your success.”
His assertion that mass migration poses a threat to Europeans, along with the Hungarian government’s crackdown on the activities of far left NGOs bankrolled by George Soros in his nation, place the Hungarian leader’s views in direct opposition to the position outlined by Macron on Monday, when he alleged that Europe’s existence rests on the bloc’s embrace of activists and ”human rights” as envisioned by liberals.
“Our security depends on the reaffirmation of our values, human rights which are at the very foundation, not only of the Council of Europe, but of the European Union, and the defence of all those who represent them every day — I think of non-governmental organisations, intellectuals, artists, activists, journalists,” he said, speaking at the Élysée Palace.
Speaking in Milan after his meeting with Orbán, Salvini told journalists: “We want to change Europe’s commission. We want to protect our borders. We are going to fight pro-migrant policies supported by Macron and Soros.”