Strengthening of Egypt is a fundamental interest

On Tuesday in Budapest, the Hungarian Prime Minister described the strengthening of Egypt as a fundamental, existential interest of the European Union.

In the Castle Garden Bazaar after the summit of the Visegrád countries and Egypt, at a press conference held together with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said today the migration situation is far worse than it was in 2015. The EU will only be able to cope with this situation if it has external allies, and Egypt is one of the most evident allies, a key country, he stated. 

He added that at the meeting the Polish Prime Minister informed them about the migration pressure weighing heavily on his country’s Eastern border. He said Hungary for its part is sensing the ever-mounting pressure on the Serbian-Hungarian border from the direction of Asia via the Balkans, and there is enormous pressure towering over Europe from the direction of Africa as well. 

“We have been fully surrounded,” he said. 

The Hungarian Prime Minister took the view that the existential interests of the EU and Egypt coincide, and if Egypt is unable to continue the policy with which it has so far prevented the influx of migration from the direction of Egypt, then “we will all be in extremely grave trouble”. 

He said not only Egypt’s border protection must be enhanced, but this country of a hundred million must also stabilise economically and must grow so that it can offer young people living there the opportunity of a good life. 

This is not only in Egypt’s best interests, but equally in Europe’s best interests, he stressed. 

Mr Orbán proposed to the EU that they convene a meeting of the EU-Egypt Association Council within the shortest possible time, accept Egypt as a strategic partner, and adopt the measures proposed by Egypt in the interest of curbing terrorism. “We should accept as our own” Egypt’s list of persons and organisations regarded as terrorists, the Prime Minister urged. He also initiated the lifting of restrictions which do not allow Egypt to procure the security equipment necessary for the protection of its borders. 

He drew attention to the fact that since 2016 no vessels transporting migrants have left the shores of Egypt which is proof of the fact that if there is a will and if there is leadership, then migration by sea, too, can be contained and prevented. He stressed that for this achievement at the meeting the attending leaders expressed their appreciation to the President of Egypt. 

He indicated that in the afternoon they will continue talks primarily regarding the issue of economic cooperation to which Hungary is committed. 

He highlighted that at the Hungarian Eximbank they opened a separate facility so that in addition to Hungary supplying goods to Egypt, Hungary should also be able to install factories there. These would provide jobs for young generations, and would enable us “to contribute, according to our own abilities,” to a European form of assistance which could stabilise the Egyptian economy also in the long run, he added. 

Mr Orbán said it is an honour for Hungary to host the President of Egypt who was received here “with friendship, warmth and respect”. He stressed that for Hungary this is an old, amicable, brotherly relationship.

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