Czech PM thanks Hungary for erecting border fence in 2015

Prime Ministers Andrej Babiš and Viktor Orbán visit the city of Ústí nad Labem. (Andrej Babiš/Facebook)
By Lucie Ctverakova
3 Min Read

During Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s visit to Czechia, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš thanked Hungary for being the only country that defended the Schengen border from the influx of migrants at a time when the then German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed them and uttered the well-known “Wir schaffen das” statement.

“If the fence was not there, the shortest way to Germany, in seek of social benefits, would go through Czechia,” said Babiš, appreciating that Hungary was defending the Schengen border with the fence it had built.

According to Babiš, 77,000 migrants arrived at Hungary’s fence this year. That is part of the reason why, this week, the Czech government approved the deployment of 50 police officers to help guard the Hungarian-Serbian border.

“It is enough now. But when the worst happens, and a big wave arrives from Afghanistan, with the number of migrants reaching several hundred thousand, I will be back and ask for reinforcements,” Orbán replied when asked if he considered the Czech help sufficient.

Babiš invited Orbán to the Czech Republic in order to rally support for his ANO movement before the October elections.

The politicians also discussed the topic of illegal migration at the Severočeské Theatre in Ústí nad Labem during an hour-long debate, as well as the joint fight against some European Union regulations. Almost all seats in the theater were occupied, and several dozen people arrived, including mayors from the ANO movement in the Ústí Region.

In the evening, the Hungarian prime minister met with President Miloš Zeman. According to the Czech president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, both politicians talked about energy issues and the negative effects of the Green Deal, which the EU agreed on.

Throughout Orbán’s visit, some protests occurred. Roughly two dozen demonstrators with European Union flags welcomed him in the morning in front of Kramář’s Villa, the seat of the prime minister, in Prague. His critics also protested in Ústí nad Labem where Orbán was visiting.

Orbán also mentioned that he has a special relationship with Ústí nad Labem.

“I’m very happy to be in a city that reminds me of my youth,” he said, referring to the Czech writer Vladimír Páral and his novel “Lovers and Murderers”, which takes place in this city.

“That book was a hit in my country. Everyone in my generation has read it or heard about it,” said Orbán.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics accompanied the Hungarian prime minister. Together with Babiš, they visited the AERO Vodochody company, which manufactures military and civil aircraft.

Last week, Babiš was on a two-day visit to Hungary, where he attended a demographic summit.

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