Migration has become a flashpoint in the politics of the European continent and a central concern of far-right parties.
The far-right leaders of Hungary and Poland have rejected a collective statement on irregular immigration at the end of the EU leaders’ summit.
On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki rejected a proposed declaration to be included in a document on the summit’s conclusion.
The move forced European Council President Charles Michel to issue a separate statement on his behalf on asylum policy and border protection, and French and German leaders said the legislative process on the issue would continue. as expected.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who hosted the summit in Granada, dismissed concerns about the clash.
“The most important thing is what our interior ministers achieved a few weeks ago with the agreement on crisis regulation, because that is what is really important in political terms,” he said .
But the rally gave Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who faces a general election this weekend, and Hungary’s Viktor Orban a stage on which to brandish their populist credentials to their domestic audiences.
Morawiecki boasted that his “veto” of a joint declaration on migration “meant that this process would not continue… and that Poland had a chance to stop it.”
Orban compared accepting refugees to sexual assault.
“A deal on migration, politically, is impossible – not today (nor) generally for years to come,” Orban said. “Because legally we are, how should I put it – we are raped. So if you are legally violated, forced to accept something you don’t like, how would you like to compromise?
The European bloc of nations remains divided over how to tackle irregular migration, a topic that has become a flashpoint in the continent’s politics and a central concern of far-right parties who have called for increased restrictions.
On Wednesday, an agreement was reached on ways to deal with periods of particularly high arrivals, removing a major obstacle to efforts to enshrine a broader immigration overhaul before the next European elections.
For years, Europe has been at the forefront of a global trend of border militarization, expulsions and disincentives designed to increase the risks of irregular migration.
Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees, many fleeing war and conflict in countries like Syria and Afghanistan, have paid with their lives, drowned in their desperate efforts to cross the Mediterranean in search of safety and security. of a better future.
Human rights groups have directly blamed the tragedies on the EU’s tough disincentives, which include deals with foreign governments that critics say outsource the most sordid elements of government control. immigration and encourage rights violations.
Such measures have not stopped right-wing parties in countries like Hungary and Poland from capitalizing on concerns about migration and relying on rhetoric depicting migrants as criminals and “invaders.”
The leaders of both countries have categorically rejected claims that all European countries should share the distribution of newly arrived migrants. Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said Friday he would oppose a “diktat coming from Brussels and Berlin.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen struck an optimistic note at the end of the summit, saying Wednesday’s deal had been “a great success.”
“This is an important piece of the puzzle of the migration and asylum pact,” she said.