Hungarian PM Orban urges EU to build an army of its own

AP News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2016 10:50 AM
Hungarian PM Orban urges EU to build an army of its own

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Hungary's prime minister urged the European Union on Friday to make security a priority and build an army of its own.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban spoke in Warsaw before heading into talks on EU's future with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of three other central European nations. The talks, in preparation for an EU summit next month, focused on security concerns and migrants.

"We must give priority to security and so let's start setting up a joint European army," Orban said.

He was seconded by Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who said building a joint army will not be an "easy project" but added that the 28-nation EU needed better cooperation on defense issues and border protections.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, meanwhile, called for setting up a European border guard to protect the external border.

Merkel said many security projects have been neglected, like registering travelers into and out of the visa-free Schengen zone.

Earlier in the day, Orban told Hungarian state radio that Hungary will build a new, "more massive" fence on its southern border to defend against a possible surge in the number of migrants. He has previously called migrants "poison."

Merkel's meeting in Warsaw with the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary came ahead of an EU summit in Bratislava, Slovakia, next month without Britain. One of the main topics was to discuss Britain's vote to leave the group.

The four central European nations have been critical of many EU policies, including ones pressing for nations to accept more migrants. They are also pushing for changes that would give individual EU members more leeway, saying that the EU's rigid policies have led to the British departure.

Merkel said holding a summit at a place different than Brussels will give EU leaders a better feeling for "what makes Europe."

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Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report