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Pragmatic approaches to tough issues such as climate change, energy, economic policy and migration are likely, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after meeting European Commission EC President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, adding that debates over migration were expected to be more “meaningful” in the future. Orbán said Von der Leyen understood the gaps between the approaches of western Europeans and central Europeans. The former are concerned with integrating migrants while central Europe is unwilling to create a multicultural society, he added. The prime minister said that Von der Leyen at the same time considered this should not form the central plank of the debate, but rather important matters should be discussed in which a positive outcome could be expected, such as border protection and procedures for migrants while the applicant is still outside EU territory, he said. They agreed at today’s meeting that migrants should not be released into the EU while they are awaiting a decision on asylum. Rather, a humane solution should be found that ensures the safety of citizens. Also, they agreed that migrants who come to the EU illegally should be sent home, he said.

On the subject of climate change, Orbán said they shared the view that humanity shares common responsibility for the future. But whereas rich countries “can make serious statements on this issue”, a country the size of Hungary should only make commitments that it can keep. Hungary, he added, has undertaken to source 90% of its energy needs carbon-free by 2030.

Orbán added that Hungary is “under pressure” to say it will achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. “I don’t see the chance [to make such a commitment] now,” he said, adding that he would not rule out making such a commitment in the future. Whereas there is a goal, no substantive plan as yet exists, “so we would be talking about this irresponsibly”. New and expensive technologies are needed, he said, adding that the EU should finance part of the related costs.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the issue of Hungary’s EU commissioner-designate had arisen at the meeting and he told Von der Leyen that László Trócsányi had topped the ruling Fidesz party’s list, and because people had been promised that Trócsányi would be Hungary’s next commissioner if they voted for the Fidesz list, this should be the case.