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Press statement by Viktor Orbán after a meeting between prime ministers from the Visegrád Four and the President of Egypt

I respectfully welcome you all. Today we are holding a V4-Egypt summit. We welcome the President of Egypt with friendship, fellowship and appreciation. For Hungary this is a long-standing, friendly, brotherly relationship, so it is an honour to welcome him to Hungary. But for today’s meeting this alone would not have been enough reason – on its own it would not have been enough reason for today’s meeting. In addition to friendship, this meeting is important because we are all in a very difficult situation; and in this difficult situation Egypt is a key country. You all remember the migration crisis in 2015; the situation is now much worse than then. We have here today the Prime Minister of Poland, who has spoken about the migration pressure on Poland’s eastern border. We Hungarians are here, and we sense the increasing pressure on the Serbian-Hungarian border coming from Asia through the Balkans. And we have here with us the President of Egypt, from the region where there is enormous pressure on the European continent coming from Africa. We are surrounded. This is a situation that the European Union can only cope with if it has external allies, and in this respect Egypt is the most obvious external ally – not a partner, not a cooperating party, but an ally. The European Union’s existential interests coincide with Egypt’s existential interests. If the President and Egypt are unable to continue the policy that so far has blocked an influx of migration from Egypt, then we will all be in very serious trouble. The main message from today’s meeting is that we all need Egypt to be strengthened – not just in its border defences, but also in the economic stability and development of this huge country of hundreds of millions of people, enabling it to offer Egypt’s young generations the chance of a good life. Today this is in the interest of Europe: it is not just in the interest of Egypt; today it is in the interest of Europe. This is why in our meeting we also dealt with migration, with terrorism and with economic cooperation. We will recommend to the European Union that it should convene a meeting of the European Union-Egypt Association Council as soon as possible. This would enable us to adopt the measures that our Egyptian friends have advised us to take in the interest of curbing terrorism, to incorporate the list of individuals and organisations that they have designated as terrorists into our own list, and to lift the restrictive measures that prevent Egypt from obtaining the security equipment without which it cannot defend its borders. And we propose that Egypt be accepted as a strategic partner by the European Union as soon as possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I do not think this is widely known in Hungary, but no ship carrying migrants has left Egypt’s shores since 2016. This is proof that if there is a will, if there is leadership, migration at sea can be restricted or prevented. Today we have jointly paid tribute to the President of Egypt for this achievement. Later this afternoon we will continue our discussions – in particular on economic cooperation. Hungary is committed to this. In Hungary’s Eximbank we have opened a special facility enabling us to not only deliver goods to Egypt, but also to set up factories there, thus providing jobs for the young generation. As far as our capacities allow it, we will contribute to European assistance that can stabilise the Egyptian economy in the long term.

Honourable President,

Once again, on behalf of Hungary I thank you for honouring us with your presence here today.