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Austria, Hungary, and Serbia hold third summit against illegal immigration in Vienna

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Austria / Hungary / Serbia – A few dozen scattered demonstrators gathered at Ballhausplatz in front of the Austrian Federal Chancellery last Friday, July 7 to protest the Austro-Hungarian-Serbian summit devoted to the fight against illegal immigration. The three countries were represented by Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and President Aleksandar Vučić, respectively.

It was the third summit of its kind involving the three Central European leaders after those held in Budapest in October 2022 and Belgrade in November 2022. The Vienna summit was also attended by the foreign ministers and police chiefs of the three countries, which all lie along the Balkan migration route.

The Austrian Chancellor reiterated that the three leaders had agreed to reduce the number of asylum applications and to further strengthen their already close police cooperation in order to curb the organized trafficking of migrants and take on the issue of smugglers and their backers: “It can only be done together; it can only be done if we are prepared to work together on an equal footing. (…)

As long as the EU does not intervene adequately, we will have to help ourselves.

For his part, Viktor Orbán stressed that if Hungary did not execute its border control obligations along its southern border, Western Europe would be in big trouble – which, in light of recent events in France and Germany, can probably be seen as an understatement. Austrian Chancellor Nehammer stressed that up to 80 percent of migrants arriving in Austria currently come through Hungary.

The Hungarian PM called on other European countries to adopt the Hungarian model for asylum procedures. Regarding the European Union’s plan to relocate migrants, Orbán was adamant that

Hungary will find a legal and political way to ensure that Brussels’ decisions are not implemented”.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić welcomed the fact that

Austria, Hungary, and Serbia are “contributing to greater stability in Europe

by reducing the number of asylum seekers.

But Herbert Kick, the leader of Austria’s right-wing opposition party FPÖ, called on Chancellor Nehammer

not only to talk with Viktor Orbán, but also to act like Viktor Orbán against mass illegal immigration”.

The FPÖ garnered 32% in the latest polls of voting intentions.

At this latest summit, Nehammer, Orbán, and Vučić signed a memorandum of understanding concerning their intention to found a working group to improve border protection. Other Central European states have already been invited to join.