The Pope has met in Budapest privately for 40 minutes with the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban , from whom he is separated by his belligerence against migration and his sovereignist and anti-European positions. Francisco is in Budapest to preside over a closing mass of a great international religious congress.
The statement released by the Holy See press room excludes the issue of refugees from the issues that were put on the table. According to the official note, the meeting spoke only “of the role of the Church in the country, the commitment to safeguard the environment, the defense and promotion of the family.”
The meeting was also attended by the Hungarian President, Janos Ader, and two high-ranking officials of the Roman Curia. The meeting between the two was one of the issues that had attracted the most media focus. At the moment, the details of the meeting, which began at 8.45 am and ended at 9.25 am, have not been disclosed.
This is the first meeting between the two, but it will not be official since it has been held at the Museum of Fine Arts. In fact, the same Pope stressed a few days ago in an interview with COPE that he did not know if he was going to meet Orban. The person in charge of picking up the Pope at the airport in the Hungarian capital has been the Deputy Prime Minister, Zsolt Semjen . The Vatican has stressed that the objective of the visit to Budapest is to close the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress.
Most contrary countries
Francis has incessantly asked governments to welcome refugees fleeing poverty, whatever their religion, but Hungary and Slovakia, the second country that the Pope will visit this Sunday in a four-day trip, make up together with Poland and the Czech Republic the bloc of countries most reluctant to welcome migrants in Europe . Their positions claim that no refugee can set foot on European territory until a Member State grants them asylum and that applications are processed in centers outside the EU.
This criterion contrasts with the migration plan endorsed by the European Commission, which includes mandatory solidarity between the countries of the European bloc with quotas distributed to migrants. And it is also situated on a plane diametrically opposed to the position of the Pope who has made the reception of migrants and refugees one of the workhorses of his Pontificate.
The accredited journalists on the official flight of the Pope with whom he arrived a little before 7.45 am, have presented him with different gifts. Among them, the tunic of a Christian who escaped from Afghanistan with his family and now lives in Italy and the book ‘Mujeres de Afganistán’, by Spanish journalists Mónica Bernabé and Gervasio Sanchez , which shows that violence against women women in that country is endemic and structural violence, enhanced by the war.