Pope Francis arrived in Budapest on Sunday morning for an ‘informal’ blitz visit, which included a meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The Pope indirectly gave them the message of opening the country (again) to immigrants.
The Pope took part in the mass closing of the Eucharistic Congress in the Hungarian capital. For that congress, representatives of the Catholic Church from all parts of the world descended on Budapest.
However, all eyes were on the Pope’s meeting with Prime Minister Orban. Both have different perspectives. While Orban stands for a strong anti-migration policy, the pope has repeatedly criticized political leaders who seek to keep migrants out.
Maintenance took place behind closed doors and lasted about 40 minutes. Later, Orban published a photo of the meeting. According to the Vatican, the conversation was about the church’s role and climate policy in Hungary.
After the mass, however, the pope already spoke striking words. He wanted Hungary to be open to men and women in need. An unmistakable response to Orban’s right-wing, nationalist migration policy. It is not the first time that the pope has criticized countries closing borders, but the question is whether the Hungarian prime minister is impressed. Orban told the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia last week that Europe’s only way out of the migration problem is to return all rights to member states.
The Pope stays only seven hours in Hungary, then travels to Slovakia, where he stays longer.