Hungarian and Polish leaders see anti-immigration stance spreading in EU

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The prime ministers of Hungary and Poland have said their countries’ anti-immigration policies are gaining strength within the European Union.

In Budapest, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, making his first bilateral visit since taking office in December, and his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, pointed to Austria, where conservative and nationalist parties had formed a coalition government last month.

Mr Orban said: “Democracy has been restored in Austria because the Austrians who reject immigration elected a government which also does not want immigration.

“This will be the case everywhere in Europe and I believe it is only a matter of time.”

Mr Orban and Mr Morawiecki inspect troops in Budapest
Mr Orban and Mr Morawiecki inspect troops in Budapest (Tamas Kovacs/MTI via AP)

Mr Morawiecki said the immigration issue, which he called a matter of national sovereignty, was “getting even hotter” in the EU “and it seems that it is going in our direction”.

The two leaders again rejected EU efforts to resettle refugees among members of the bloc, while emphasising their contributions to rebuilding efforts in the Middle East aimed at keeping more people at home.

Mr Orban said: “The EU’s immigration policy is not working. What is more, it is not only not working but it has failed spectacularly.

“It is clear that the European people don’t want immigration, while several European leaders are still forcing the failed immigration policy.”

Poland is facing possible sanctions from the EU because of its perceived erosion of democratic principles, including recent steps increasing government control of the judiciary.

While Mr Orban has vowed to block any punitive measures against Poland by the EU, neither leader mentioned the issue during their news conference in the Hungarian parliament.

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