Europe needs easily traversable, open internal and secure external borders, President Katalin Novák told a press conference in Vienna on Thursday, after meeting her Austrian counterpart, Alexander Van der Bellen. Novák told the joint press conference that they had touched on the war in Ukraine and the situation of Hungarians living there, energy independence, migration and the importance of the European Union’s enlargement in the Western Balkans. At the talks, Novák and Van der Bellen agreed that the two countries should have stable relations and be strong allies. Regarding migration, Novák said Hungary was on the same page with Austria that accepting and helping refugees was a humanitarian task. At the same time, while regulating legal economic immigration could be a sovereign national decision, firm countermeasures are needed against illegal migration, she said.
Van der Bellen told the press conference that “we in Austria might not be aware of the special significance of this war for Hungary, because of the Hungarian minority living in Ukraine,” which he said made the situation “especially worrisome” for Hungary.