No decision which is contrary to Hungary’s best interests has been adopted
22. 10. 2016.
In Brussels on Friday, after a meeting of the European Union’s heads of state and government, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the approval of mandatory resettlement quotas was successfully prevented, and no decision that is contrary to Hungary’s best interests was adopted at the summit.

At his press conference the Prime Minister told the media that he would have liked to see this issue discarded altogether, because he thinks that the Member States will never reach a consensus on it, and that therefore there is no point in keeping it on the agenda. However, the attempt to do this failed, he said. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, made it clear that the Commission will not withdraw its proposal, and as a result an impasse has emerged.

In order to resolve this, the European Union has asked Slovakia – which currently holds the EU Presidency – to develop a proposal.

Mr. Orbán pointed out that Hungary regards the money and energy it is investing in the protection of its borders to be an element of solidarity. He said that during the debate on solidarity, Hungary’s firm stance is that the EU should regard the protection of its borders as a part and a manifestation of solidarity.

By protecting the borders, he added, “we are not only protecting the interests of Hungary, but also the interests of everyone behind us and our borders – in other words, the entire European Union”.

At the same time the Prime Minister rejected the argument of those Member States which claim that, when it refuses to take in migrants, Hungary is showing no solidarity.

He pointed out that there are Member States which are not protecting their borders adequately, despite the fact that those borders are also external EU borders. “They are not showing solidarity with the other Member States of the European Union, but we are”, he stated.

The Prime Minister said that in the debate no decision was adopted on the Hungarian proposal that refugee camps should be set up outside the territory of the EU. Hungary continues to maintain that there should be scope for separating economic migrants from true refugees. The conditions for this are not available in the territory of the EU. It is much more humane not to let in those who are not eligible for refugee status than to forcibly remove them from the territory of the EU after they have been here for several months or years, he said.

He also argued that Ukraine meets all the conditions of visa-free travel to the EU, and Ukraine must be given the option of visa-free travel as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister said that the European Council requested the European Commission “not to neglect this issue” any longer.

At his press conference Mr. Orbán stressed that the European Commission has deceived the nation states with its proposal for mandatory quotas.

He pointed out that the European Union is an alliance of free and independent states, and the “alpha and omega” of this is that legislation must be based on guidance from the prime ministers. On two separate occasions the heads of state and government agreed that quotas must only be voluntary.

Mr. Orbán described the deception of the nation states as “a gutter-level trick” which, in his view, will do more harm than good in the long run. He added that it was the European Commission – which as the guardian of the Treaties should be trusted the most – which deceived the Member States.

The Prime Minister added that easing the sanctions against Russia could not be discussed in the talks, due to the situation which has developed in Syria.

Instead of this, on the agenda was the issue of potential further EU sanctions against Russia, because of military operations in Syria.

Finally, the leaders of the Member States made clear that practices which are contrary to international law must not go unpunished anywhere – including in Syria.

Mr. Orbán said that the European Council took the view that in such a situation the European Union must not remain silent, must stand up for civilians and innocent victims, and must do everything it can to curb or prevent military operations which could claim civilian lives. He told the press that the European Council had agreed to return to this issue in December.