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Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer. Photo supplied

Hungarian minister says he looks forward to Swedish elections

Hungarian Minister Heading the PM’s Office, Gergely Gulyas told daily Magyar Idok on Saturday that there was a very clear ideological divide over immigration in the EU. He pointed to Sweden.

Published: August 23, 2018, 12:22 pm

    Budapest

    “In the light of the Swedish government’s interventions to Hungarian affairs, I’m looking forward to the elections in Sweden,” Gulyas said.

    When Swedish Education Minister Gustav Fridolin visited Hungary in March this year, he lambasted the ruling Fidesz party for citing Sweden as an example of failed mass migration policies.

    The Education Minister, who is also a member of the Green party, travelled to Hungary to meet with leaders of Politics Can Be Different (LMP) party, Sveriges Radio reported.

    “We now see how people who have come from other countries to Sweden get more work, get involved, and contribute and make Sweden their own,” Fridolin explained.

    “The picture that Sweden, when we had and received so many asylum seekers, still has a positive development when it comes to economy and work, it actually needs to be there too,” he added.

    But the Swedish Crime Prevention Council (Brå) in March had recorded the highest ever number of fatal acts of violence in 2017 ever, while the number of rapes had also continued to rise.

    According to Gulyas however, it is not possible to have a common European standpoint on the issue of immigration. Due to their different history, integration experiences and nation concepts, European countries have fundamentally different opinions, he explained.

    He noted that while some European countries have a colonial past, Hungary, for example, suffered from 150 years of Turkish oppression.

    Gulyas said that migration will remain a central topic of the government’s policies because the migration debate is not over yet in Europe.

    Parties representing public opinion about migration will be successful at next spring’s European Parliamentary elections, Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer said in an interview with daily Magyar Hirlap published on Saturday.

    Hungary’s ruling Fidesz does not plan to leave the European People’s Party and it is unlikely that the EPP would expel Fidesz, Szajer said.

    “We believe that parties will be successful only if they take border protection more seriously and we will therefore continue the debates on this matter. I do not expect our membership to depend on this,” he added. He also said that expelling Fidesz because of the debate surrounding the Central European University would be a great mistake.

    “We should continue to highlight the changes that need to be made in order to maintain the EU’s competitiveness. What’s most important is to regain the trust of voters who have become disappointed about political elites,” he said.

    Szajer said that he expects the EPP to remain the largest European political force after next spring’s election even if it receives fewer mandates than currently.

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