Germany, Oggersheim – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán paid a visit to the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Oggersheim, Germany. Although he said in a joint press conference with the former Chancellor that Europe might not absorb migrants indefinitely, he added that Hungary stands with Berlin.
On Tuesday, April 19, Viktor Orbán went to Helmut Kohl’s residence, to pay him a visit and show his respects to the former German Chancellor, which one of the architects of Germany’s 1990 reunification and a major driver of European integration in the 1990s. As such, he is seen by Orbán as an example and Kohl received from the Hungarian Premier a copy of the Hungarian edition of his own book “Aus Sorge um Europa ” (Out of Concern for Europe). Orbán told the press that this visit had no political aim, and that Kohl “stands far above us contemporary politicians,” although Kohl and Orbán released a joint statement.
After an hour-long meeting where no camera were allowed, Orbán and Kohl expressed their views on the current migrant situation. A topic on which Kohl is known to disagree with Merkel, his former protegee when he was ruling the CDU. In a column published on Sunday in Berlin’s Tagespiegel daily, Kohl said he did not think the EU could integrate millions of refugees. “The solution lies in the affected regions. It does not lie in Europe. Europe cannot become a new home for millions of people in need around the world,” he wrote. This point of view had been stressed in the statement. Mr. Orbán stressed that “in a period of major migration waves”, core European values such as freedom of religion, the equality of women or behavior rooted in mutual respect for each other must not for one moment be called into question. The Prime Minister added that “we must not allow the development of areas within our societies which are outside the boundaries of the law and which thereby promote radicalization”. He said that it was in this spirit that he described to his host the Schengen 2.0 plan.
Viktor Orbán also suprized some by the end of his statement. According to a report in the online edition of Bild, in his statement made in the former Chancellor’s home in Oggersheim Mr. Orbán said that “From here, also, I would like to send my best wishes to German Chancellor Angela Merkel”. Referring to the “Schengen 2.0” plan, the Prime Minister said that “Hungary – and I as Prime Minister – stand by Berlin, and we are supporting Angela Merkel in the struggle to overcome Europe’s current challenges with further initiatives, such as our action plan”. “There is complete agreement on the goal,” the two said. “It is about a good future for Europe and peace in the world. The efforts of (Merkel) point in the same direction.” But, they added, “how many people can Europe sensibly take in and in the end integrate? And what happens to the remaining millions of people in need around the world who cannot flee?”
Reuters recalls that last week, Merkel agreed to require migrants granted residence rights to show willingness to integrate by learning German and seeking work or see their benefits cut. Her government has also introduced steps to speed up processing of applications and deportations of those refused permission to stay.