Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

PM Orbán meets Helmut Kohl

April 21st, 2016

Commentators disagree on the outcome of PM Orbán’s visit to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Was their endorsement of Mrs. Merkel’s policies just lip service, to mitigate the impact of their misgivings over the way the migration crisis has been handled?

In a joint press release after their meeting, Viktor Orbán and Helmut Kohl called the migration crisis an existential threat. They stressed the importance of humanitarian aid, but said that Europe can only provide shelter or home to a small part of the asylum seekers, and called for a resolution of  the crisis beyond Europe. Mr. Orbán and Mr. Kohl underlined that they are in full agreement with Angela Merkel’s goals concerning the refugee crisis. They also expressed their commitment to a “politically united Europe” as a guarantee of peace and freedom. In a separate interview, PM Orbán said his Schengen 2.0 proposal is meant to be an active contribution to resolving the migrant crisis and promote the success of Chancellor Merkel’s efforts. The ten point proposal calls for the protection of the Schengen borders and rejects the idea of mandatory migrant distribution quotas. 

In Népszava, Róbert Friss finds PM Orbán’s statements intriguing. The left-wing columnist recalls that the press both in Germany and Hungary had assumed that Mr Orbán and Helmut Kohl would meet in order to criticize German Chancellor Merkel’s approach to the migrant crisis. In light of the Hungarian PM’s earlier messages and policies, Friss finds it surprising that PM Orbán endorsed Chancellor Merkel and stressed the importance of a united Europe. He suspects that Helmut Kohl may have convinced him to make a U-turn.

PM Orbán has not become isolated or marginalized in Europe, Gyula T. Máté comments in Magyar Hírlap. The right-wing columnist contends that despite formally endorsing Chancellor Merkel, both PM Orbán and Helmut Kohl are clearly critical of her migration policies. Although he did not openly criticize the German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl sent a strong symbolic message by meeting Orbán, Máté concludes.

Tags: , , , ,