The EU’s new migration proposal is unacceptable
20. 02. 2018.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has taken part in talks in Sofia with Boyko Borissov, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria – which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU. After their talks Mr. Orbán stated that the European Union has a new migration proposal, which as it stands is unacceptable, because it continues to focus on the mandatory relocation of migrants.

Mr. Orbán said that the number of migrants slated to be mandatorily relocated keeps growing; based on the latest proposal, Hungary would now be required to take in ten thousand people annually, while earlier the proposed number was around one thousand. He stated that clearly the ultimate aim is for quotas with no upper limit on numbers.

Debate surrounding the mandatory quotas encourages migration, he stressed, adding that this process poses a threat to public security, prosperity and Europe’s Christian culture.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

The Prime Minister stated that Hungary has prepared its own proposal, the essence of which is that the EU should finally start focusing on protection of the borders, rather than on the distribution of migrants.

Presenting the document to Mr. Borissov, Mr. Orbán stated that there is no point in talking about distribution until the complete protection of the external borders is guaranteed.

He said that the Hungarian Constitution makes it clear that only individuals and organisations elected and mandated by the Hungarian people may decide on who may reside in the territory of Hungary.

He said he suspects that there are many people in countries to the west of Hungary who believe that at the end of the day migration is both positive and inevitable. Hungary, however, believes that this is a dangerous process, and it has therefore decided to prepare a package of its own proposals, which contains a series of amendments.

The Hungarian prime minister said that Bulgaria deserves recognition for protecting its external borders, and in doing so it is also protecting Hungary. He added that the Bulgarian prime minister is not only important for Bulgaria, but also for the Hungarians.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

He stated that the borders can only be protected under the guidance of strong leaders, who have clear democratic mandates and are not afraid to take the necessary decisions; when the need arises they build fences – as Prime Minister Borissov has done. Mr. Orbán said that he had seen Bulgaria’s physical line of defence, for which he has only words of praise.

The Hungarian prime minister stressed that there is a need for European solidarity in protection of the borders, rather than in the distribution of migrants.

Hungary’s proposals require every Schengen Member State to honour their border protection obligations. If they are unable or unwilling to do so, there should be no fear of drawing the necessary conclusions and the protection of the Schengen borders “should be moved one country further in”, to where there is both the will and the capability to stop the flow of migrants.

Hungary’s position remains unchanged, Mr. Orbán said: it can be seen that in many places around the world conditions are difficult, but “help should be taken there, rather than bringing the problems here”.

Mr. Orbán congratulated his Bulgarian counterpart on the useful and skilful way in which Bulgaria has shaped its relations with Turkey, adding that Hungary supports the existence of an agreement. The borders must be protected, he stated, but agreements on these efforts must also be concluded, and Hungary will always support Bulgarian-Turkish cooperation.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

A historic task is being borne by the Bulgarian presidency, Mr. Orbán stated, noting that there is the opportunity of taking a decisive step towards the integration of the Balkans into the EU.

In his press statement, the Prime Minister described Bulgaria’s commitment to host a Balkans conference in May as a splendid decision. In Mr. Orbán’s view, at this conference final and conclusive decisions will have to be made on the issue of enlargement – primarily in relation to Montenegro and Serbia – and on some large-scale projects.

It is not enough to admit the Balkans in a political sense, he remarked, but “the region must also be brought together”. Political declarations are pointless, the Prime Minister stated, if there are no rail and rapid rail lines or motorways: without them, the Balkans will not integrate with the economic body of the EU. This, however, is what everyone needs, he said, and Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro and the other Balkan countries can all benefit from this process.

Bulgaria is a member of the EU, but is not a member of the Schengen Area – even though it should be, he noted. Between Bulgaria and Hungary, however, there are several states which are not yet members of the EU, even though they would like to join and should be admitted, he said.

He added that he is pleased to see that Bulgaria is accepting a historic responsibility and is taking control of this issue.

Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

Mr. Orbán wished Mr. Borissov every success in this enterprise, adding that the Bulgarian prime minister has taken on a huge task, which hopefully he will succeed in.

The Hungarian prime minister expressed his gratitude to Mr. Borissov for having received him, congratulating him on what he said seems to be a well-run EU presidency, and noting that “half of Europe comes here”: the Chancellor of Austria will visit Sofia on Tuesday, and this, he said, draws attention to the important role Bulgaria plays in European politics today.

Relations between Hungary and Bulgaria are sincere and friendly, he stressed, and in bilateral relations there are no conflicts of any kind. The two countries have a historic awareness of their shared fate, he observed: in the course of history they have had to endure similar trials – both after World War II and in the more distant past.

While politics is a realm of interests, in Central Europe and the Balkans “this is a little different”, he remarked: here sentiment, friendship and history also carry a great deal of weight. He said that that he had expressed the friendship and respect of the Hungarian people to Mr. Borissov.

Hungary sincerely hopes that the fabric of economic and political relations with Bulgaria will become ever more closely woven, he stressed: Hungarians would also like to take part in the process of Bulgaria’s reconstruction, and they also invite Bulgarian businesses and investors to come to Hungary and take part in Hungary’s success.