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Merkel meets Orbán

Important partner in protecting external borders

During the Hungarian Prime Minister’s visit, the Chancellor emphasised Hungary’s importance in protecting the external Schengen borders. At the same time, Merkel appealed for humanity in dealing with migrants. "Isolation" is not the way forward.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in conversation with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. "There are intensive contacts between the people of our countries," said Merkel during Viktor Orbán’s visit. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Europe should "not detach itself" from hardship and suffering in the world, according to Merkel.

"I think that even if we have different opinions, it is important to remain in dialogue," said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, following talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Federal Chancellery. As a country on the Schengen perimeter, it is important that Hungary takes control of the external border. However, "isolation" or establishing "a kind of fortress" should not be the goal.

Merkel mentioned humanitarian obligations when tackling migration: "We must not forget that we are dealing with human beings."

Disagreements on migration

Merkel and Orbán also talked about migration policy issues. "Here the perspectives of Germany and Hungary are very different," said the Chancellor. As examples she quoted aspects regarding the interior of the Schengen area, as well as the distribution of refugees within the EU countries.
Nevertheless, there is good cooperation on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex, as well as on development aid. "We, Hungary and Germany, are working on joint projects in North Africa, in order to help alleviate the problems causing people to flee. This should be continued and expanded," emphasised Merkel.

Merkel pays tribute to good economic relationship

"We have an excellent and steadily-growing economic exchange," said Merkel. In particular, she paid tribute to the successes in the automobile industry. The common trading volume of around 50 billion Euros a year is impressive, especially considering the size of the country. "Hungary is a very attractive investment destination," said the Chancellor.

Germany and Hungary can also work together "fruitfully” in terms of technology and research, for example in the area of autonomous driving. Both countries are determined to eliminate trade barriers. Regarding possible barriers through punitive tariffs imposed by the United States, it is clear that Hungary and Germany will not support "protectionist strategies".

1989 will always be remembered

With a view to the coming year, Merkel praised the German-Hungarian relationship. In doing so, she recalled the historic year of 1989. She recalled the contribution of the Hungarian people to freedom and unity of the Germans, by opening the Hungarian-Austrian border. "Something took place in Hungary in 1989 that Germany will never forget." She referred to the "path to freedom" that also began with the opening of the border in Hungary.

It is important for us to remain in dialogue, Merkel said in conclusion. As an example, she listed the intensive contacts between Germany and Hungary, especially in tourism. "I have great faith in the personal contacts between our two countries."

Jul 05, 2018