Leaders of Italy and Hungary, two countries at the forefront of the European immigration debate, today vowed to work together on a uniform policy towards migrants. In talks held in the Italian city of Milan, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban agreed to jointly pursue the issue of immigration.
In an unlikely consensus between the leaders of parties at opposite ends of the political spectrum, both Salvini and Orban committed to take a hard-line stance again migration, both by land and by sea.
Orban has been known in European circles to have a hard-line stance on immigration and refused to adhere to EU quotas that request EU countries to take in a set number of refugees. PM Orban also famously erected a border wall in Hungary to stop migrants from passing through. He was re-elected in April on a platform of nationalism, in opposition to multiculturalism and liberal values.
On the other hand, Matteo Salvini has recently been in the news for refusing to allow migrants to disembark after ordering ports to close on them.
Both Salvini and Orban represent populist Euroscepticism, wherein the leaders have often expressed their abhorrence and criticism of the European Union.
“We agreed that the most important issue is migration. Europe’s security hinges on its success,” Orban said, as Europe prepares for European Parliamentary elections set to happen in May next year. The elections will be key to gauging the general European mood with respect to not only immigration but, Euroscepticism.
However, although Orban is set to carry the election and the immigration agenda in his own country (He was re-elected in April on a platform of nationalism, in opposition to multiculturalism and liberal values), the situation in Italy is trickier. Although leaders in Italy’s national government have threatened to suspend EU budget contributions if migrant quotas are not shared, Italy’s Deputy PM Maio has had issues with Hungary’s Orban over the same.
Either way, the next few months may decide the future of Europe’s policy on immigration.