Europe to be 'in great trouble' if Egypt does not continue blocking illegal immigration, Hungarian PM tells V4

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 12 Oct 2021

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán warned after a summit for the Visegrád Group (V4) on Tuesday that Europe will be in "great trouble" if Egypt cannot continue its current policies to rein in immigration to Europe, local news service Hungary Today reported.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (R) speaks beside Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (L) in a presser after a summit for the Visegrád Group (V4) summit in Budapest. Egyptian Presidency

Speaking about illegal immigration in a presser following the V4 summit, which gathered Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, in addition to Egypt, Orbán said Egypt is one of the European Union's (EU) most obvious external allies that Europe cannot cope without.

In his speech at the joint press conference, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said he does not allow his country to be a transit point for illegal migrants seeking to reach Europe, stressing that Egypt hosts nearly 6 million refugees, who are treated as guests on its soil, from Africa and other unstable countries.

However, Egypt has never allowed them and will not – from an ethical and human standpoint – to immigrate illegally to Europe, El-Sisi said.

In this regard, Orbán said it is in the EU's interest to strengthen Egypt, affirming that no ship carrying illegal migrants has been allowed to leave Egyptian coasts since 2016.

The Hungarian PM stressed the need for reinforcing Egypt's border controls.

The V4, comprising four European and NATO countries, vowed during the summit to explain to the EU Egypt's efforts to eliminate terrorism and halt illegal immigration, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.

The presser also gathered Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

During the summit, they hailed El-Sisi's adoption of balanced, fixed and highly moderate policies while leading the country, the statement read.

They said these policies have been reflected in the country's significant success in eliminating terrorism and stopping the flow of illegal immigration, affirming that such matters are of significance to Europe.

They vowed to exert more efforts to further clarify the situation in Egypt and support huge developmental efforts currently made by Egypt to boost citizens' living standards and improve services provided to them.

El-Sisi said efficient confrontation of illegal immigration requires in the first place settling the region's conflicts and decisively dealing with attempts of some countries to exploit these conflicts.

El-Sisi called for addressing the causes behind illegal immigration, blaming the phenomenon on deteriorating economy, as well as the interference of some regional countries in the domestic affairs of other countries in the region.

The president said some regional countries interfere in the internal affairs of countries like Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, fueling their conflicts and pitting their peoples of different religions or sects or races against each other.

El-Sisi affirmed the need that different countries and bodies, including the EU, take a strong stance to face illegal immigration, including through helping these countries' national institutions retake control.


International efforts against terrorism

Orbán, during the presser, urged the EU to convene the EU/Egypt Association Council at the earliest opportunity, endorse Egypt's proposals to face terrorism and approve Egypt as a strategic partner.

The Hungarian premier also suggested lifting European restrictions on Egypt's purchase of equipment required for border protection.

Orbán called on the EU to adopt Egypt's list of terrorist groups and individuals.

The V4 leaders hailed Egypt's vital role under El-Sisi toward stability in the region and North Africa, the presidential statement read.

During the summit, El-Sisi called for sincere, concerted international efforts to support Egypt's comprehensive approach to face terrorism.

El-Sisi said Egypt has managed to a great extent to face and contain terrorism through adopting a comprehensive and integrated path that includes social, developmental, and cultural dimensions besides security confrontation.

The president affirmed that terrorism is on top of challenges facing the region and Africa, underlining its threat to the resources of the countries and the security of their peoples.

El-Sisi also warned that extremist thought stems mainly from wrong understanding of 'true religion' and its tolerant values that are based on diversity, acceptance of others, and pursuit of prosperity for all.


Cooperation with V4

El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s aspiration for more cooperation with the V4 countries regarding the transfer of expertise and technology, and localisation of industry.

He also urged cooperation with the group in the fields of education, training and universities in Egypt.

This comes in light of Egypt's current modern infrastructure, which is the basis for the success of any joint cooperation, El-Sisi said.

He added that Egypt is growing and progressing at unprecedented rates in its modern history despite its accumulated challenges and the scarcity of resources.

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