Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) shakes hands with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban during a joint press conference after their meeting in Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 3, 2018. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki emphasized the importance of the Visegrad cooperation here on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)
BUDAPEST, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki emphasized the importance of the Visegrad cooperation here on Wednesday.
The words came when Morawiecki he met with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban. They also discussed other international and bilateral affairs.
"The Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) are an important part of the European Union (EU), contributing to economic growth and stability," Morawiecki told reporters at a joint press conference with Orban.
"Concerning the next EU budget, it would be important that the Visegrad countries set up and jointly represent a similar position," he added.
About the Visegrad cooperation, Orban said that the potential enlargement of the group was not on the table, adding: "The greatest virtue of our cooperation is its unity from the perspective of history, culture and economic development, that is why the expansion could endanger its efficiency."
But he said that he was thinking about maintaining an intimate relationship between the Visegrad countries and Austria.
Morawiecki also underlined that Poland and Hungary would like to adjust their position on energy, transport and Brexit.
On that issue, Orban pointed out that the relationship between the two countries would be characterized in the future by big projects, namely in the area of the North-South energy and transport infrastructure.
Another important highlight of the meeting was the question of the settlement of refugees coming to the EU, on which Orban is a fervent opponent.
"While the economies of our countries are working well, the immigration policy of the EU has seen a spectacular failure," Orban announced.
"The borders must continue to be protected, migration must be stopped and assistance should be taken wherever it is needed," he underlined.
"European people do not want immigration, even though some of Europe's leaders continue to push for it," he added. He thanked Poland for the defense of the Hungarian border, which he said made it clear that the protection of the southern border was not a domestic affair but a common European issue.
Orban called 2018 a year of great debates for Europe. "That is why many people will look to 2018 as the last opportunity to make the countries of the region immigrant countries."
Morawiecki said that he fully agreed with the Hungarian position on the migration crisis. "Citizens of sovereign states have the right to decide who they want to live together with," he declared.
He explained that Eastern European countries were doing a lot to reduce the tension caused by the migration crisis.
"We definitely reject the quota," he said. He went on saying that the European Commission had no right to provide such a solution to this question based on the EU treaty.
Morawiecki emphasized that there was a need to help where the problem was. This has already been done through various financial funds, he noted. Evidence is present that this help is effective: "In Italy in the second half of 2017, the number of migrants dropped by 70 percent compared to the first half of the year," the politician said.
Also about the EU, Orban pushed for a more substantial weight of Central and Eastern European countries in the bloc. "Central European economic models work, countries in the region play a stabilizing role in the European Union, so they want to speak louder in EU affairs," Orban pointed out.