The prime ministers of Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia vowed to aid Greece combat the growing migrant crisis at its border and use all measures to fight coronavirus during a Visegrad Four summit in Prague yesterday.
After the meeting with Visegrad Four leadership, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, “Even if Greece’s attempt to hold back migrants is successful, we shouldn’t forget about the 130,000 people who are already north of the Greek border and who want to get into Europe.”
Orbán also noted that the Visegrad Four position on migration has now gone mainstream, with European countries realizing that effective borders are essential to protect from threats from countries like Turkey.
The Hungarian prime minister also referred to the border fence built in 2015, saying that, “We announced a policy against Muslim migration”, which he noted is “now well-known throughout the European community” and has been “a success”.
Orbán said “Hungarians were subjected to insults for protecting our borders,” but now Europeans see the benefit of Hungary’s approach.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen even called Greece the “shield” of Europe over its efforts to combat illegal immigration, which is a big departure for her harsh words for Orbán during the 2015 migration crisis, when she criticized his efforts to halt the migrant wave Europe was facing at the time. Europe has now pledged €700 million in funds to Greece to help combat the crisis.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stressed that given the current situation on the EU’s southern border, Greece has begun to speak the same language about migration as the Visegrad Four has.
“The countries of the south are realizing that we must protect our external borders. This is what we have always said and underlined – to protect external borders so that no one, especially human traffickers, would rule that entire process,” Morawiecki stated.
The Polish prime minister declared that Poland is ready to give material help and support from the Polish border guard to help protect the EU’s external borders.
In this case, the Greek-Turkish border would be the focus of such aid since “the danger is coming from that direction.”
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that the situation in Greece was serious and that all four Visegrad countries, which are known for their tough stance on migration and opposition to migrant quotas in Europe, are ready to help.
Coronavirus is quickly spreading in Europe
“It is known that we have registered the first case of a patient with coronavirus in Poland. We would like to share our different experiences,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
Morawiecki emphasized the need for cooperation within the EU, which is why the prime ministers proposed a meeting between the health ministers for Friday. He explained that the meeting would discuss medicine and equipment deliveries, as well as independence from certain suppliers.
The Polish prime minister believes that the Visegard countries have utilized the best methods of containing the spread of the coronavirus.
The Polish minister of health, Łukasz Szumowski, said on Wednesday morning that the first case of the coronavirus in Poland was confirmed in Poland. He added, that the patient has already been hospitalized in Zielona Góra, in the western part of the country.
Hungary also reported its first two cases of coronavirus on Thursday, which indicates the virus has now spreading in Central and Eastern Europe.