It is a reasonable demand by Hungary that the EU should pay back at least a part of the money spent on border protection since 2015, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said a regular interview with public broadcaster Kossuth Radio on Friday.
Over the past six years since 2015, border fences have been built not only by Hungary but also by Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, Orbán said. This shows that Hungary’s position which it took “in solo” in 2015 is slowly becoming a majority view in Europe, he said.
A total of 92,000 illegal border entries were prevented in the first nine months of this year, which shows that the pressure of migration increased three to four-fold over one year, Orbán said.
Hungary has spent nearly 600 billion forints on border protection so far, which is approximately the same sum that the government will give to parents in the form of tax rebates next year, he said. As a result, it is a reasonable demand by Hungary that the EU should pay back at least a part of this money, he added.
Orbán warned that migration was making the pandemic spread faster, with illegal migrants transmitting infection.
“Our argument with Brussels is not because they don’t see the numbers that we see,” Orbán said, “It’s because they think it’s all good. So they think migration is a good thing. The head of the Brussels bureaucracy has said that it is good if more migrants come, that migration is good, that our societies need migration. So they think that what we are fighting against at our southern borders is not a bad thing, it is a good thing, and they see us as wrong because they think that we are preventing a good thing. To which we say, you know what, if it’s good for you, take them. Hungary is ready to open a corridor for migrants to march up to Austria, Germany and Sweden,” Orbán said.
“If you need them, take them, but Hungary refuses to allow Brussels to force its opinion on Hungary,” he said.
It is up to the Hungarian people to decide who should be allowed to enter the country and whom they want to live with, he added. “This debate will stay with us for years because we live in an age of epidemics and migration,” Orbán said.
Featured photo illustration by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office