“In Austria and Germany people can sleep soundly, because here the Hungarians will be protecting Europe’s external borders”, he said. The Prime Minister was responding to Turkey’s partial revocation of the migration agreement concluded with the European Union.
In this context Mr. Orbán said that – bearing in mind Hungarian history – he has consistently stated that, while a deal must be struck with the Turks, it is not a wise policy to place our security entirely in their hands. This is an especially unwise policy, he remarked, if “we place our security in the hands of the Turks, and meanwhile we continually harass them, attack them and criticise them” because “they’re not democratic enough, we don’t like their hairstyles, their political system is unsound, and this is not how they should behave”.
He added that he is not claiming that in this dispute the Turks are blameless, but the approach of the Europeans – who after all expect Turkey to ensure their security – strikes the wrong note.
In this regard Mr. Orbán said that he had also pointed out earlier that, in parallel with a deal with Turkey, security fences must be built at full speed, because if the Turkey-EU agreement “evaporates”, Europe will find itself back where it was before. Evaluating the Hungarian border protection measures implemented so far, he said that Hungary has protected its own borders and those of Europe.
Regarding Parliament’s recent adoption of a measure tightening the legislative border closure, the Prime Minister said that he had described the statutory changes to the attendees at the latest Brussels summit. The essence of these changes is that asylum-seekers will be required to stay in a supervised location – in a transit zone – until final rulings on their asylum applications. This, he stressed, “does not qualify as detention”, because they may return to Serbia at any time.
“The prime ministers accepted what I said without a word”, he said, adding that Hungary is in fact seeking to comply with European regulations, while also protecting the interests of much wealthier countries to its west. He also said that he expects “Soros and his associates to launch full-scale attacks on us”.
Responding to a ruling by the court in Strasbourg which asserts that the Hungarian authorities had unlawfully detained and expelled two asylum-seekers, Mr. Orbán said that Hungary had been taken to court by an international organisation funded by George Soros, in whose favour the court had ruled. In other words, he said, a judgement has been reached against the very country which has acted in accordance with the law. In his view, “the whole affair is absurd nonsense”, amounting to collusion between people smugglers, Brussels bureaucrats and foreign-funded organisations operating in Hungary.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the document on the future of Europe which is planned to be adopted in Rome next week, in preparation for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the EU. He said that he had even needed to take a stand against the prime ministers of larger countries, who wanted to adopt a text stating that migration must be managed humanely and well. His view is that they should instead state the goal as being that migrants should not enter Europe, and that genuine refugees should be separated from others at Europe’s borders.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the national consultation announced on five topics. This is necessary, he explained, because Brussels has a number of initiatives with which they are seeking to take powers away from Member States. These five topics are: protection of reductions in household utility charges; migration; transparency requirements for foreign organisations engaged in political activities in Hungary; retaining the right to determine taxes in Hungary; and protecting job creation measures. Therefore, he stressed, this year Brussels must be stopped.
Regarding the right to determine taxes, Mr. Orbán said that if decisions on the structure of the Hungarian budgetary system are adopted in Brussels rather than in Budapest, “multinational corporations would benefit, but not the Hungarians”. The situation would be the same for public utility charges, he added, if energy prices are fixed somewhere around Brussels” and not in the Member States.
Talking about plans for retail chains, Mr. Orbán said that no decision has been taken yet on measures to be adopted. Meetings are currently being held with the representatives of trade organisations and these may take weeks to complete, but, he said, it is certain that the current regulations are inadequate.