Politics
Viktor Orban

Border Protection Must Be The Priority: PM Viktor Orbán’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Article In Full

Being overrun, it is impossible to accomodate even a single person.

All that is now unfolding in front of our eyes threatens the whole of Europe with a cataclysm and is now causing concern across the entire world.

Facts speak for themselves: this year alone, close to 150 000 illegal immigrants have crossed Hungary’s borders. This figure is already three and a half times more than the number for 2014 and we are still yet to reach the end of the year. Compared to the first half of the previous year, the combined number of immigrants has increased by over 70 per cent. Over forty per cent of them came from Central and South Asia, while a similar share of illegal immigrants to Hungary came from the Middle East.

For us to understand what has to be done, we have to know what we face exactly. Europe is encroached not by a “refugee problem” or “refugee situation”, but rather the European continent is threatened by an ever-swelling modern-day Great Migration of peoples. A migratory tide of an inordinate magnitude is under way, with a potential supply unlimited in European dimensions.

Day by day, we see hundreds of thousands packed and on the road, knocking on our borders, and there are further millions heading to Europe for economic reasons. In the meanwhile, immigration has also become a profitable business activity exploited by dangerous and unscrupulous criminal groups. As Kronen Zeitung writes, international smuggling gangs have raked in a staggering circa 16 billion euros in revenue from transporting illegal immigrants since 2000, while the lives of some 30 thousand people have been claimed by their dealings. What is happening on the sea, roads and our borders is inhumane and what Europe is doing amounts to pure insanity.

We must speak out and dare say that the European Union’s failed immigration policy bears responsibility for the situation that has developed, and all European politicians are irresponsible who encourage immigrants to head to Europe by leaving everything behind and putting their lives at risk, leading them on with the prospect of a better life. Europe will loose out in a fateful struggle if it fails to return to the path of common sense.

Even those following European debates on immigration policy only superficially can see that several arguments are raised and various different dimensions mingle, obscuring clear vision. Common sense tells us that the only way to set things aright among conflicting aspects is to establish a clear order of priorities.

The first and most important is the protection of external borders. Schengen is among Europe’s greatest achievements; for us Central Europeans, the possibility of free movement within Europe is an experience of freedom and therefore especially important. However, Schengen only works if individual member states carry out their tasks set out in the Schengen code – that is to say, external border protection is an indispensable prerequisite of free movement within Europe. If we fail to protect our borders, Schengen may fall in danger, which is something nobody wanting to protect Europe and valuing European identity can possibly want.

It is rather dismal that nobody except us Hungarians and the Spaniards wants to protect Europe’s borders. Europe, nevertheless, has to understand that being overrun, it is impossible to accomodate even a single person – and what we are seeing now is precisely this. This is where the importance of the fence us Hungarians are building comes in. We are not doing it out of merrymaking but because it is a necessity. The fence is nothing but a line of protection, a physical device that can be protected. As a line of protection, the fence derives from the Schengen agreement and is consequently a European measure.

In Europe, immigration is of course also a question of democracy; were it not, we would not be Europeans. Above all, democracy means that we listen to what people want. This is why us Hungarians launched a consultation on the issue of immigration. One million people out of the 8-million electorate returned their answers, and 85 per cent of them believe that the EU has failed in handling immigration. To the European campaigners for a United States of Europe, I recommend the words of a great president of the United States of America: “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Europe cannot go against the will of European citizens – but the current situation is that European citizens’ will differs from what the majority of European governments represents. People want us to keep the situation under control and protect our borders.

Protecting the borders is the first and most important question. All other dimensions are worthy of discussion only after the deluge has been held back. Only when we have protected our borders can we ask questions such as how many people we want to accomodate or should there be quotas?

At the same time, let us not forget that those arriving here were raised in a different religion and represent a profoundly different culture. The majority of them are not Christians but Muslims. This is an important question because Europe and European identity are rooted in Christianity. Does it not give cause for concern on its own that European Christian culture is hardly able to keep Europe within its own Christian system of values. If we fail to keep this in sight, the European idea may be confined to a minority position on its own continent.

Ceterum censeo: there is no other path and no other solution but to protect our borders. What we agreed on together cannot be given up without a decision made together. Schengen has to be preserved to secure the right to free movement within Europe, and further questions can come only after this. Let nobody forget: being overrun, it is impossible to accomodate even a single person.

Hungarian version of the article available here.

photo: Thierry Charlier/AP