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Interview: Only Cooperation with Hungary can Solve the Migrant Crisis in Slovakia

Dániel Deme 2023.09.05.
A poster depicting Gyimesi is seen being taped over the campaign posters of the far-left Progressive Slovakia party.


Hungary’s northern neighbor, Slovakia, had in the past year seen a massive influx of illegal economic migrants from the Middle East. Despite Hungary’s best efforts at its southern borders, thousands on migrants slip through the net, and are subsequently carried through to Slovakia by people-smugglers. The government in the capital Bratislava seems unconcerned, but fear and anger is rising among ordinary people. We asked György Gyimesi, a politician from the Hungarian party in Slovakia, Alliance (Szövetség-Aliancia), what his party can offer to bring back security to Hungarians and Slovaks alike.

You must have been paying attention to the migrant crisis that the people of the southern counties have been complaining about for over a year. Now it seems to have reached the ears of Slovak politicians. There is an unprecedented migrant crisis unfolding in Slovakia. Is this now being embraced because of the upcoming elections (Sept 30.) or has it become so entrenched that it can no longer be ignored?

I would correct you, this is not an unfolding problem, it is a fully developed problem, which I drew attention to months ago, but nobody was paying attention then. I have been warned by residents for several months now, and documented by photographs that the migrant flow into Slovakia has started. However, no one fully addressed this until the situation became completely untenable. I would like to point out here that

the government of caretaker Prime Minister Ludovít Ódor, a government that was never elected by anyone, does not seem to want to resolve this issue.

They have taken a proactive approach, almost campaigning on behalf of the migrants, when they said that the migrant crisis does not exist, that migrants do not stay in Slovakia, that there are not many of them, that only mothers with children come, and that it is not true that mostly young men come here.  Furthermore, we must not forget the scandalous vote in the European Council when our government said that they agreed with the migrant quotas (eventually abstained in the vote). There is your answer as to your question to the current migrant crisis: the government does not want to solve it because it is obediently fulfilling someone else’s agenda. And that is why we are here to draw attention to it.

Photo: Facebook György Gyimesi

You are talking about the government, but in the end, this crisis is largely affecting areas inhabited by the Hungarian-minority, but not only those. Has the Alliance party consulted with local residents about their complaints and experiences?

I have. I do not know whether my colleagues communicated this problem to the local residents months ago, because I did not keep in touch with them at that time. But I did, I was very actively involved in these discussions, and I visited the southern town of Kormárno (Komárom) myself. This was at a time when the city police were not yet protecting the bridge connecting with Hungary, because the police allegedly lacked the capacity to do so.

However, I would also like to draw attention to the fact that when

during the Covid crisis, the army was able to be deployed to protect the district borders, to prevent citizens from crossing from district to district. Why are they not being deployed to the state border now? Because the government does not want to prevent this crisis.

I have been aware of this problem for a long time, I talk about it a lot, I have travelled around the country, I have hardly ever been to a place on the border where migrants have not been encountered. Hence this is a major problem that needs to be addressed immediately after the elections.

Photo: Facebook Jozef Cuper

In the southern town of Nové Zámky (Érsekújvár) the local mayor has managed to remedy the situation to the extent that migrants have been moved into a reception center. But there are municipalities, for example in Chlaba (Helemba), where they do not have this option. How can the Alliance help the citizens of these municipalities?

Just yesterday, I received videos and photos from Nové Zámky of migrants roaming around in tenement houses. I think it is likely that these reception centers do not have enough capacity. We in the Alliance say that migrants must be turned back at the border because we do not want them here. And I think Slovakia is the only country in the European Union that issues certificates to migrants that enables them to move freely within its territory. This measure must be abolished at once. If authorities catch migrants, they must either turn them back or take them where they want to go.

Photo: Facebook György Gyimesi

The migrants say that they do not want to stay, we can either believe it or not. Yet what I am saying is that if Slovakia were to help Hungary to stop migrants on the Hungarian-Serbian or Hungarian-Romanian border, I think we could achieve much more than what we are doing now, when we are just mitigating the consequences.

However, there is another problem here, which is the EU.

The EU did not keep its own commitments when they said in 2015 that migrants should be stopped where they enter the Schengen area.

They wanted to build hotspots in Greece or Italy, to give money to those countries. But they did not do that and they are not supporting Hungary either. That is why I say that Slovakia is now obliged to help Hungary, if necessary with soldiers, money, with police officers, because we will not be able to do this on our own.

I take it that you do not think that concentrating migrants into reception centers is a long-term solution. But there is no agreement between Slovakia and Hungary, hence you cannot just push them over the bridge and transfer them back to Hungary without an agreement, such as the one that exists between Serbia and Hungary, or Romania and Hungary. The subject is not even on the bilateral negotiating table. What would be the long-term solution that would solve this disastrous situation?

The long-term solution is for the European Union to say that it has had enough of migrants. The European Union would not be a group of receiving countries, but would reject them and push them back to where they are flowing into Europe. However, we are finding that the European Union does not want to resolve this issue, this problem, for some reason. Without a common European solution, these will only be improvised solutions or everyone will build a fence again, as Hungary did in 2014. I cannot imagine what would have happened without that fence, but still a European solution is needed here. The two countries can only help each other and alleviate the problem, but on a national level they will not be able to solve the migrant crisis.

Nevertheless, it is worrying that the Bratislava Government has so far remained silent about this escalating problem, as have major Slovak left-wing media outlets. What do you think is the reason behind their silence?

The explanation is very simple: President Zuzana Caputová and the government are simply not on the side of the people, and never have been. They are not interested in this, they are interested in serving the big powers. Moreover, what is strange in Slovakia and interesting is that the most read, the biggest press are all part of the liberal mainstream and they regard this problem as non-existent. Politicians who draw attention to this problem and to what could happen if we accept migrants into Slovakia are called everything from populists to fascists. Both President Caputová and the caretaker Ódor government are serving the interests of Brussels and Washington, not the interests of the Slovak and Hungarian people. That is the simple explanation.

The majority of migrants seem to be entering Slovakia via Hungary. What cooperation can your party, the Alliance, offer to the Hungarian authorities, possibly to the Hungarian government, to solve this problem together? Other parties seem to be ignoring the fact that the solution lies in an agreement and cooperation with Hungary, at least as a first step. So what would the Hungarian party, the Alliance, recommend to the Hungarian authorities in terms of cooperation?

Financial and human resources, and of course maximum cooperation at all levels that Hungary will ask for. But Hungary is completely alone on this issue.

We have to stand up not only for our interests, but also for Hungary, because Hungary is the only European country that stands up for and defends our values.

Here we need the two countries to cooperate on a treaty basis, and I would like to state categorically that we need to involve the military in solving this problem, and this can only be achieved through an agreement between the two states. There is the first point, and Hungary should say how Slovakia can help it. If we need to build a third fence, let us build it together.

Do you think the Alliance has paid enough attention to this problem so far? Will you move the migrant problem more at the center of your political agenda after these experiences?

I hope so. I fully agree that some former politicians in the Alliance have not paid enough attention to this problem. They were probably afraid of the colors in which they would be painted in the liberal press. However, we must now take a firm stand for our people. I have been doing this for a few months now, and I hope that the other politicians in between will join in, because this is becoming a matter of life and death. We have had to protect not only our values, but also our assets, because we cannot wait for our towns, Dunajská Streda (Dunaszerdahely), Nové Zámky (Érsekújvár) or perhaps Komárno (Komárom) to become the next burning Paris.

Slovak Politician György Gyimesi Talks About the Clash between Progressive and Conservative Values
Slovak Politician György Gyimesi Talks About the Clash between Progressive and Conservative Values

"Everything that is coming now is based on a denial of what Christian Europe is built on and what the European Union was built on."Continue reading

Featured Image: Facebook György Gyimesi

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