Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his regular Friday morning radio interview today in relation to the European Union’s handling of the immigration crisis that “individual action is better than unified inertia”.
Asked about German chancellor Angela Merkel’s statements criticising nations who were “going it alone” on state-operated Kossuth Rádió, the Prime Minister stressed that Hungary was the first nation state to act independently. As a result of this, Hungary is now the most protected state in the European Union, which as a whole has failed to act. According to Mr. Orbán, the migration situation and Brussels’ inertia are endangering a better future and the chance for further development. He also noted that the costs of protecting Hungary against the migrant flow are being fully borne by the country itself, and the EU is not providing any financial assistance in this regard.
We will not be transforming Hungary into Europe
The Prime Minister stressed that Hungary is not allowing anyone to enter its territory without adequate monitoring. “There will be no fence-breaking, immigrant riots or acts of arson in refugee camps here, and no gangs hunting Hungarian women, our wives and daughters”, Mr. Orbán said, adding that he has ordered Minister of Defence Sándor Pintér to act immediately in the event of even an indication that something of this nature might occur. “From this viewpoint, we will not be transforming Hungary into Europe; this will remain a safe place to live”, he said.
On the subject of Hungarian border security, he said that the current physical barriers were effective, but indicated that the system of fences must be reinforced “physically” to enable it to be protected in wider zones. Preparations must also be in place to ensure that the authorities “are able to physically protect” the full length of the Hungarian-Romanian border within 2–3 weeks if problems arise, he added.
In the interview, the Prime Minister described as inexplicable Greece’s toleration of the entry into its territory of millions of people from Turkey without any kind of control, and the Greeks’ introduction of an official policy of transporting to the mainland people arriving on its islands.
In summary, the Prime Minster said that Greece has contravened the Schengen Agreement and has “allowed the refugees to enter, and has transferred the problem to us”. Despite this, he said, “some people” such as the Germans, “but also some behind the scenes” have continued to defend Greece.
He also mentioned the relationship between Turkey and the EU, including the issue of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens. The Hungarian government’s reply to this is the following, Mr. Orbán said: “If in future we Hungarians grant visa-free entry to anyone […] Ukraine must be first on the list”.
Hungarian foreign policy supports an agreement between the EU and Turkey, but this is not enough in itself, and it does not replace self-defence, he stated.
In reply to a question on a statement by the Commander-in-Chief of NATO forces in Europe, according to which Russian bombing of Syria is causing the European refugee crisis, Mr. Orbán said that millions of migrants were already flowing into Europe before Russia began bombing Syria, and so “blaming Russia for that does not seem to be a rational standpoint, even according to the simplest rules of logic”.
On the subject of the quota referendum initiated by the Government and the related criticism from EP President Martin Schulz, the Prime Minister said that “Mr. Schulz is behaving as if he doesn’t know what we have stated everywhere”: that Hungary has turned to the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the earlier decision on the resettlement quota and the distribution of 120,000 people. The referendum is about the future, he explained, because at the EU summit in mid-March they want to put forward a proposal for a continuous, permanent and compulsory migrant distribution system. Accordingly the Prime Minister sees the mid-month summit as the real challenge, and not the one being held next Monday.
“I have not signed and will not be signing anything agreeing to a compulsory quota, be it a permanent or a one-off measure”, he made clear.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the idea that Member States in the eurozone could develop a joint policy applying only to them. This is not a problem for tomorrow, the Prime Minister said, but major decisions are expected by the end of the year that could pose important questions to states such as Hungary, which do not yet use the euro. According to the Hungarian Constitution, joining the eurozone would require a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament, he said.
The subject of this weekend’s Slovakian parliamentary elections was also touched on during the radio interview. While asking Hungarians in Southern Slovakia to participate in the elections, Mr. Orbán said that a stable and balanced Slovakia with which Hungary can maintain an alliance – as it has done in recent years – could provide the opportunity for joint action on the European stage.
Other European elections held in recent months “do not cheer me up”, he noted, because they have led to the development of unstable situations. Mr. Orbán said he thought that this has further weakened Europe.
Son of Saul success is a towering summit
In closing, the Prime Minister spoke about the Oscar-winning Hungarian film “Son of Saul”, pointing out that in 2010 the Government had inherited “total legal and financial chaos” within the field of film financing. It had been difficult to put things in order “and it is impossible to ignore the name of Andy Vajna, who is one of the most courageous Hungarians, and who undertook to try to bring peace, justice and a creative atmosphere to this hornet’s nest”, Mr. Orbán said. He added that Hungarian films produced in the new system have won 130 international awards in recent years.
“Of these successes ‘Son of Saul’ is the outstanding, towering summit”, the Prime Minister said, congratulating the film’s director and its entire crew.
photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI