State Secretary Szabolcs Takács’s meeting with Karlheinz Kopf, Second President of the Austrian National Council

 Szabolcs Takács, State Secretary for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office had talks on 16 March 2017 with Karlheinz Kopf, Second President of the Austrian National Council.

The State Secretary informed his Austrian partner of the changes related to the legislation on the legal border closure passed by the Hungarian Parliament on 7 March: as of the entry into force of the new regulations, following the asylum proceedings closed on a final and absolute basis, only those individuals may enter the territory of Hungary who are actually eligible for international protection. With this new measure, Hungary is able to guarantee that no one may leave from Hungary in the direction of Germany and Austria – which have a vested interest in the maintenance of internal border controls within the Schengen Area – without a final and absolute decision regarding their asylum application. Hungary therefore does not accept that these Member States continue to intend to maintain the temporary border controls reinstated within the Schengen Area. Mr Takács reassured his negotiating partner at the same time that the new regulations creating the legal border closure are in harmony with international and EU law.

Mr Takács said thanks to Karlheinz Kopf for Austria providing police and military forces for Hungary in the interest of reinforcing the protection of our external borders on the basis of a Hungarian-Austrian agreement concluded last summer. Karlheinz Kopf agreed that one of the causes responsible for the current migration crisis is the fact that not all Member States met their obligations arising from the protection of the EU’s external borders.

Mr Takács pointed out that the internal market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements, and the only means to ensure the EU’s international competitiveness. We therefore find its maintenance in its current form important. The restriction of any of the fundamental freedoms would jeopardise the integrity of the internal market, which could contribute to the disintegration of the EU. They agreed that the authorities of the two countries must cooperate against fraud and abuses, and meanwhile, we must guarantee the advancement of legally operating, competitive service providers and workers.

The Austrian law against wage and social dumping imposes excessive administrative and disproportionate financial burdens on Hungarian service providers, in particular, on hauliers. We are convinced that the forcing out of the Western-European market of Hungarian and Central-Eastern-European haulier businesses would compromise the goods supply chain, and would lead to increased prices and the loss of thousands of jobs in Europe. All of this would have detrimental consequences for the competitiveness of the Member States and of the entire European Union.

It is extremely important for the Hungarian Government that the Hungarian citizens who work and pay taxes and contributions in Austria should not be discriminated against, compared with Austrian workers.

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