Great expectations and controversy around the Salvini-Orban meeting

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is meeting Italy’s Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini this afternoon in Milan. According to Orban’s press chief, the two will hold a press conference afterwards.

Since last Friday, when Salvini announced the meeting, comments by Hungarian and Italian politicians are all over the media. Salvini himself said that he’s about to discuss the new rules of migration in Europe with Orban, who didn’t react so far because he’s returning from his holiday today.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said this morning that the two politicians would share their governments’ experience in tackling migration. Hungary and Italy agree that illegal migrants must be sent back to their home countries, Kovacs said, noting that over 90 percent of migrants staying in Italy had entered that country illegally. Policies encouraging migration go nowhere, the spokesman said, stressing that illegal migration must be stopped. According to Istvan Pocza, leading expert at the pro-government Szazadveg Foundation, Salvini and Orban are going to discuss the closure of sea borders.

Parliamentary group leaders of the Five Star Movement (M5S), the coalition partner of Salvini’s Lega Nord, distanced themselves from the meeting. According to them those countries who oppose the relocation of asylum seekers and don’t answer to Italy’s plea for help, don’t deserve more European funds; and Hungary is among them. Stefano Patuanelli, M5S’s group leader in the Senate stressed in an interview with Hungarian news site Azonnali this morning that the Italian government firmly stands by the relocation system.

The Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which cooperated with Lega Nord before the elections, greated the meeting, while the left-wing Democratic Party (PD) announced that they will organise a protest. The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, – who is a member of Fidesz-ally Forza Italia (European People’s Party) – told Italian channel La7 on Monday that he hopes Salvini convinces Orban to accept the reform of the Dublin System and thus the quota mechanism.

Hungary Journal
Photo: European Parliament


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