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EU summit reaches consensus on Schengen borders

Speaking at his press conference on the final day of the EU summit, Mr. Orbán said that the Schengen system could not work unless its external borders are protected.

Mr. Orbán said that the protection of Greece’s southern borders has not been accomplished, and this is also a factor underlying the Commission’s proposal for the setting up of a permanent EU coast and border control body.

Control of Greece’s southern borders has not been successful, he said, adding that it is important to set up a “secondary line of defence” along Greece’s borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria.

He added that the Hungarian position is that Bulgaria has proved capable of protecting its borders, and in light of this it is time to admit that country to the Schengen system.

Viktor Orbán and Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar Photo: Gergely Botár [1]
Viktor Orbán and Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar
Photo: Gergely Botár

The prime minister said that the EU should recognise and support regional cooperation such as the Visegrád Group and Hungary’s joint efforts to contain the migrant crisis together with Serbia, Macedonia and Slovenia.

He also said that an important threshold had been crossed at the European summit, since this was the first one at which the issue of protecting the external borders had been the central focus.

The European Council is open to UK reform proposals

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that the heads of state and government of the European Union countries were open to UK reform proposals, and the chances of success for three of the British government’s four proposals are relatively high, and there are parts of the fourth proposal which could provide a basis for further negotiations.

Compared to previous expectations, the debate on issues related to the British demands was held in a constructive atmosphere, Mr. Orbán said. The EU’s four basic freedoms on the movement of people, capital, goods and services must not be restricted, he added.

Viktor Orbán and David Cameron Photo: Gergely Botár [2]
Viktor Orbán and British prime minister David Cameron
Photo: Gergely Botár

According to London’s most controversial proposal, workers coming to Britain from other EU Member States would only be able to access all the services in the British social welfare system after four years of continuous registered employment.

On the sidelines of the summit Mr. Orbán had talks with British prime minister David Cameron. He told reporters afterwards that Mr. Cameron is scheduled to visit Budapest on 7 January.