x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 July 2018

Hardline European states snub migrant summit

Four nations back plan to vet migrants outside of the 28-nation bloc

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban lifts a box depicting the V4 member countries at a press conference where he announced they would boycott a migrant summit on Sunday. / AFP / FERENC ISZA
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban lifts a box depicting the V4 member countries at a press conference where he announced they would boycott a migrant summit on Sunday. / AFP / FERENC ISZA

The leaders of four nations opposing migrant quotas in the European Union have snubbed a mini-summit this weekend to discuss the spiralling crisis.

The so-called Visegrad Four nations of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic from the east of the 28-nation bloc have repeatedly clashed with countries such as Germany and France over the responsibility of sharing responsibility for migrants heading north from the North African coast. Hungary this week committed all of its institutions to preserving “Hungary’s Christian culture”.

“We understand there are domestic political difficulties in some countries but that cannot lead to pan-European haste," said Hungarian premier Viktor Orban after a meeting of the four countries in Budapest.

“We understand that there will...be a mini-summit on Sunday but we would like to state clearly that the prime ministers of V4 agreed that they will not go to that."

The four countries called for stronger border measures and migrant processing centres outside of the EU, a position that is moving closer to mainstream EU policy. The new Italian government endorsed the idea of processing centres in ‘hotspots’ in Africa this week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for an emergency meeting this weekend in Brussels. Her leadership is looking increasingly weak after a bitter clash with her coalition partner over demands to turn back migrants at the border.

The leaders of nine countries will attend on Sunday including Italy and Austria, who have taken strong anti-migrant positions with a change of political leadership.

Dr Alexander Duleba, the head of a Slovak research group, said it made little sense for the four nations to boycott the meeting since the “discourse of Western European states is changing to move closer to the original position of the Visegrad members.”

RELATED ARTICLES
Recommended