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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Poland and Hungary clash with EU leaders over migration reform

The far-right leaders of Hungary and Poland have rejected a group statement on irregular migration as a summit of European leaders came to a close.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki shot down a proposed statement for inclusion in a document on the summit’s conclusion on Friday.

The move forced European Council President Charles Michel to issue a separate statement in his name about asylum policy and border protection, and the French and German leaders said the legislative process on the issue would continue as planned.

Spain’s 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 relevant in political terms,” he said.

But the gathering did hand Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who is facing a general election this weekend, and Hungary’s Viktor Orban a stage on which to brandish populist credentials for their domestic audiences.

Morawiecki boasted that his “veto” on a joint statement on migration “meant that this process will not proceed … and Poland has a chance to stop it.”

Orban compared accepting refugees to sexual assault.

The bloc of European nations has remained divided over how to address irregular migration, a topic that has become a flashpoint in the continent’s politics and a central focus of far-right parties who have called for heightened restrictions.

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