“You wanted migrants, but we didn’t”
09. 01. 2018.
In an interview published on Monday in the print and online editions of the German daily Bild, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that it was the Germans who wanted to take in migrants, not the Hungarians, and that Hungary is doing its job by protecting the Schengen borders.

In the interview (the online version of which is longer), the Prime Minister stressed that since 2015 the defence of the borders has cost Hungary one billion euros, and Brussels has not reimbursed a cent of this. In his view the solution to the problem is not to take people illegally present in the EU and distribute them across the whole of the EU, but to take help to where problems exist.

The interviewer spoke of a feeling that Hungary accepts money from the EU, but refuses to “take in the refugees that the EU wants to distribute among the Member States”. In response, Mr. Orbán said that what Hungary receives from the Cohesion Fund is not a gift, but “fair compensation”, as the countries of Central European have opened their markets to the rest of the EU. He added that “This has absolutely nothing to do with the refugee issue”.

On the subject of Hungary’s refusal to take in a quota of almost 1,300 migrants, despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the Prime Minister said that more than twenty Member States had failed to implement their quotas, “yet only we are being criticised: this is an example of double standards”. He added that the judgement in question virtually coincided with the expiry of the EU resolution to which it applied, and the resolution must now be renegotiated. When asked whether Hungary would have accepted the court ruling had the resolution remained in place, he said that it would have, as “We stand on the bedrock of the rule of law”.

The Prime Minister stressed that he does not see migrants seeking a way into the EU as Muslim refugees, but as “a Muslim invasion force”: economic migrants who are seeking a better life. On their way to Hungary they need to cross four safe countries, he said, “which are not as rich as Germany, but which are stable. In those countries these people are no longer running for their lives”.

Mr. Orbán stressed that those arriving illegally broke through the borders: “This was not a flow of refugees, but an invasion […] I’ve never understood how in a country like Germany – which for us is the best model of discipline and a state under the rule of law – people could greet chaos, anarchy and the illegal crossing of borders as something positive”.

“While politically the refugee issue is a European problem, sociologically it is a German problem”, the Prime Minister said, highlighting that migrants want to go to Germany, “because they want to live the life of Germans”.

He stressed that the Hungarian people do not want migration: “To my mind it’s simply not possible for a people to want something related to a fundamental issue, and for their government to refuse to comply. Here we’re talking about the country’s sovereignty and cultural identity. We must preserve the right to decide who can live within Hungary’s borders”.

He said that “large numbers of Muslims necessarily lead to parallel societies, as Christian and Muslim societies will never dovetail with each other. Multiculturalism is simply an illusion. We don’t want anything like that. And we don’t want anything to be imposed upon us”.

Mr. Orbán believes that nowadays the biggest threat to the EU is that Brussels is trying to appropriate nations’ sovereign powers by “trickery”. He stressed, however, that “even though we criticise the Brussels elite, our conduct is by no means anti-European”. In his view, “The European Union is a wonderful project, which we’re happy to be part of, and which we will remain part of”.

In response to the suggestion that he is waging a billboard campaign against his “arch-enemy” George Soros, the Prime Minister said that Mr. Soros – “who acquired his wealth through casino capitalism, and sees himself as a head of state without a state” – is himself campaigning against the Hungarian government, and in this nothing is holding him back. “This debate is out in the open, and is therefore itself evidence of press freedom”, he said, adding that the billionaire sponsors sixty NGOs which support migration: “This is not about freedom of expression, but about national security; and I have to take action accordingly.”

Mr. Orbán also said that he does not believe that the German press is any freer than the press in Hungary: “Eighty per cent of the Hungarian press is privately owned, and a significant section of it is highly critical of the Hungarian government”. He added that the European Commission itself “acknowledged in writing that our media law complies with EU regulations”.

Asked about criticisms – including from the Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz – that he had been a guest of honour at the recent meeting in Seeon of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the Prime Minister said that he has always respected Martin Schulz “because he is a good fighter”. He noted, however, that there is a difference between being entertaining as a fighter and bearing responsibility for shaping a country’s policies.

“We think that we deserve more respect”, he asserted, noting that Hungary is one of the few success stories of the past decade. As evidence he noted the following: in 2010 the unemployment rate was 12 per cent, while now it is below 4 per cent; economic growth is above 4 per cent, while in 2009 it declined by 6 per cent; and the budget deficit is well below 3 per cent. He stated that “If one judges us fairly, one can see that we’re doing rather well”.