Hungary insists on its right to protect its borders, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told reporters ahead of an informal summit of EU leaders in Salzburg on Wednesday.
Arriving at a meeting of European People’s Party (EPP) premiers, when asked why he objected to EU proposals to bolster Frontex, the bloc’s border agency, having long pushed for the protection of the EU’s external borders, Orbán said: “We’re glad that we’re finally concentrating on the question of how we’re going to protect the borders. This is good.” He added, however, that there was no need to take away border protection competencies from Hungary, arguing that “we’re capable of protecting our borders. We insist on the right to keep it our job”.
Orban said Hungary has managed to stop the flow of illegal migrants on its border with Serbia. “We can do the job,” he said.
As regards the EU proposal to strengthen Frontex, Orbán questioned whether the agency has ever successfully protected any borders. “We, Hungarians have,” he said. On the topic of Brexit, the other major issue to be discussed at the summit alongside migration, Orbán underlined the importance of a “fair Brexit”, saying that Hungary wanted the UK and the EU to strike a fair trade deal.
Asked about the level of compromise such a deal would require, Orbán said the EPP’s members had agreed that they would not interfere in the work of Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. Asked if Fidesz would remain a member of the EPP, the prime minister said: “We are the EPP’s most successful party.”