Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster
Hungary and Italy have pledged to forge a new alliance to change the way the EU deals with migration. Orban and Salvini have repeatedly defied the European Union by refusing to take in any further asylum-seekers.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini made no secret of their mutual admiration ahead of their meeting in Milan on Tuesday.
United in their anti-immigration policies and relentless bashing of the EU, the two right-wing lawmakers called for the creation of a pan-European anti-migrant alliance that would seek to prevent migration to Europe from besieged regions in Africa and the Middle East.
Salvini, who heads the far-right League party, the junior partner in Italy’s populist coalition, told reporters that Italy and Hungary would strive to forge a future union “that excludes socialists and the left, that brings back to the center the values and identity” that their parties represent.
Full screen”We are near a historic change on a continental level,” Salvini added.
Orban, meanwhile, called on the European People’s Party, the largest group in the European Parliament to which his Fidesz party belongs, to adopt a hardline stand against illegal immigration. Salvini’s League party has since 2014 allied itself in the European Parliament with the likes of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and Freedom Party of Austria.
What Hungary does on land, Italy does by sea
Orban described Salvini as his “hero and companion” for turning away migrant rescue ships, claiming that such actions were crucial for Europe’s security.
“Hungary has proven that migrants can be stopped on land,” said Orban. “And this is where Salvini’s mission starts: “(Italy) must show that migrants can also be stopped at sea.”
Since coming to power, the Italian government has prevented several migrant rescue boats from docking in the south of the country. In June, Italy refused to allow the Aquarius boat to dock in Sicily. After several days in limbo, Spain eventually agreed to welcome the 630 migrants on board. Most recently, the Diciotti rescue shipped was docked in the Sicilian city of Catania for almost a week before the 180 migrants on board were finally allowed to disembark. However, Salvini demanded that they immediately be taken in by other EU countries.
Hungary, meanwhile, has erected a barbed wire fence along its borders with Croatia and Serbia to prevent mainly Middle Eastern refugees from crossing the so-called Balkan route into central Europe.
Orban has around one thousand demonstrators gathered on the streets of Milan to protest Orban’s visit on Tuesday. “We do not want Orban’s vison of Europe,” Socialist MEP Emanuele Fiano said. “Orban calls himself Salvini’s friend, but when it comes to taking in refugees from war-town countries, he slams the door.”
Salvini’s senior coalition partners from the populist Five-star Movement (M5S) had also reacted angrily to the meeting. In Monday’s La Stampa newspaper, Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, chided Budapest’s refugee policy, saying it ran counter to Italy’s own interests. “Orban’s Hungary is building barbed wire fences and refusing to redistribute refugees in the EU,” Di Maio wrote.
Salvini also indicated that his government was close to reaching an agreement with Germany over the repatriation of migrants from the German-Austrian border back down to Italy.
However, any deal would hinge on Italy “not taking in anymore migrants,” the League leader said.
On Saturday, Salvini’s German counterpart, Horst Seehofer, said that Italy would only agree to take back as many migrants and Germany accepts from Italian ports. IN return, Salvini had vowed “to participate in migrant sea rescue missions on a similar scale to Germany, Seehofer said, without giving more details. Germany has already struck similar deals with Spain and Greece.
Populist duo Viktor Orban and Matteo Salvini call for deportation of migrants from Europe
By Peter Foster* – The Telegraph, UK
The next European Commission and Parliament should send illegal migrants back to Africa and build up the bloc’s border defences against illegal migration, Viktor Orban said yesterday in his latest attack on the EU’s migration policies.
The Hungarian prime leader said that Europe’s security “hinges” on the success of Italy’s Matteo Salvini, the hard-Right Italian interior minister, who has upended the politics of EU migration by refusing to allow rescue ships to dock in Italy.
“You mustn’t give way, we’re behind you in trying to defend Italy’s maritime borders,” said Mr Orban as he met Mr Salvini in Milan. “Europe’s security depends on your success.”
The supportive visit by Mr Orban is being seen as the early exchanges ahead of next May’s European parliamentary elections which is being billed as a battle between Europe’s liberals and populists with migration as the defining issue.
Leftwing and rights groups demonstrated near the Orban-Salvini meeting under the slogan ‘Europe Without Walls’.
Mr Orban has become a cheerleader for Europe’s populist right-wing parties, including Mr Salvini’s League party, clashing head on with the EU authorities, French president Emmanuel Macron and the German chancellor Angela Merkel over the migration issue.
He praised Mr Salvini for being the first senior figure in Europe’s Mediterranean countries to prove that “migration can also be stopped by sea”.
In the most recent case an Italian coastguard with around 100 migrants on board was allowed to dock after Albania and Ireland agreed to take a share.
Both Mr Salvini and Mr Orban have targeted Mr Macron for special criticism, demanding that the French leader show solidarity with southern Mediterranean countries like Italy, which has accepted more than 600,000 migrants in the last two years.
France should show greater “solidarity and sensibility” on immigration and suspend its policy of turning back migrants who try to enter France at the northwestern border crossing at Ventimiglia, Mr Salvini said in a direct challenge to the French leader.
Mr Salvini, whose party’s popularity has soared sharply in recent months, has been locked in negotiations with EU countries like Germany that return migrants to Italy on the basis of the Dublin Regulation which says that migrants must stay in the first EU country that they land in.
Mr Salvini said a “zero-sum” deal with Germany was “close to hand” that would see Italy taking back migrants in exchange for same number being taken away via other routes.——————