Politico: Central Europeans to boycott migration summit they weren’t invited to22 June 2018 | 10:11 | FOCUS News Agency
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic said Thursday they will boycott an upcoming EU mini-summit on migration — even though they never received an invitation.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will host the emergency summit on Sunday at the behest of Germany, which is undergoing a domestic political crisis as Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, battle over the future of border and migration policy.
The mini-summit is expected to include leaders from Germany, Italy, Greece, France, Malta, Spain, Bulgaria, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic — which make up the so-called Visegrad Four group — were not invited. The countries’ governments generally hold anti-migration views. Last September, the European Court of Justice dismissed a legal challenge by Slovakia and Hungary against the EU’s relocation policy for asylum seekers.
At a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, Hungarian and Polish diplomats complained about the format of the mini-summit, and that they were not invited, according to an EU diplomat.
But the lack of an invitation did not stop Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán from declaring a boycott against Sunday’s session on behalf of the Visegrad countries.
“It is not the Commission’s place to organize any prime ministerial summit,” said Orbán, following a meeting with the leaders of the Visegrad countries and Austria in Budapest on Thursday. “I want to unequivocally emphasize that the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four agreed that they are not going” to Sunday’s mini-summit, he said, adding that it is not clear how the talks fit into the “internal customs and legal order” of the EU.
Orbán noted that he understands some countries are experiencing domestic political difficulties, but argued these challenges should not cause hastiness and chaos.
“We, next week on Thursday at the Brussels summit, will express our position on migration and also other questions,” he said, referring to the European Council’s June 28-29 meeting.
The announcement was likely directed at a domestic audience: Orbán has worked hard to portray himself as a European leader with weight, and his absence could undermine this image.
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