Hungary looks to Austria, Italy to bolster anti-migrant alliance

by WorldTribune Staff, March 13, 2018

Hungary is hoping election victories by anti-migrant parties in Austria and Italy will lead to a strengthened alliance of EU states that make security a priority.

A crowded boat of migrants are rescued by Italian authorities off the coast of Sicily. / AFP / Getty Images

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on March 12 that the approach to migration of the Vienna government and the center-right in Rome was very similar to the EU’s central European member states.

“So it is obvious that we will work together in the future,” he told Reuters in an interview. “This is not against the western part of Europe, this is against migration, and this is in favor of our interests because we put security first.”

The Visegrad Group, comprised of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, have cited security concerns and the desire to preserve their traditional Christian roots as their reasons for refusing to accept Muslim refugees.

In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz formed a coalition with the Freedom Party following an election last year dominated by the issue of migration.

Since Austria has the presidency of the EU this year, Kurz said last week that Austria intends to shift the bloc’s focus away from resettling refugees within the EU and towards preventing further arrivals.

Kurz also pledged closer cooperation with Hungary after meeting Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the end of January.

Orban is campaigning on an anti-immigration platform as he seeks a third term in office in Hungary’s April 8 national election.

“What we definitely would like to do is to have a closer and more efficient cooperation with Austria and of course hopefully with the upcoming Italian government,” Szijjarto told Reuters.

In Italy this month, the governing center-left Democratic Party lost out to anti-establishment and right-wing parties that campaigned hard against immigration.

Orban said of the Italian election: “A quarter of people supported parties in favor of immigration, while three quarters backed parties against immigration. It will remain that way across Europe over the next 10-15 years.”

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