Orban's Vienna visit marks Austria's rapprochement with V4

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 1.2.2018 15:48

A visit to Vienna undertook by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on 30 January indicated Austria's willingness to subscribe to V4's anti-immigrant and eurosceptic rhetoric. Orban met not just with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), but also with the Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), showcasing the ideological note of this rapprochement.

Orban praised the ÖVP-FPÖ government as Hungarian-friendly, in opposition to the previous administration led by the Austrian social democrats and during whose rule the Hungarian-Austrian relations were, according to Strache, in a catastrophic state. On this occasion, Kurz sided with the Visegrad members refusing to accept emergency refugees quotas under the EU migration policy reform, as his own government agreed to cut back benefits for migrants, and implement tougher border control policies. But although Strache would like to see Austria join the Visegrad group, Kurz deemed it as unfeasible, instead envisaging Vienna's role as a bridge-builder between V4 and Brussels. Building on a centuries-long common history, Orban announced - in a move to boost Hungary's regional importance - that Vienna and Budapest agreed to start prospective talks to mutually guarantee their security since Austria is not a NATO member.

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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