Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Monday called on the European Commission to suspend all infringement procedures that would “that undermine Member States’ actions aiming at the protection of their territorial and national integrity, as well as the security of their citizens”.
In a letter sent to EC president Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, Orbán said “the situation that is unfolding on the eastern borders of the Union from hour to hour and the debates that have been going on between the Commission and Hungary have left some crucial questions unanswered.”
In the current extraordinary situation, which threatens the bloc’s security and territorial integrity, “Member States cannot be challenged and punished for providing viable – yet proportionate – solutions for crises that threaten us all,” Orbán said.
Orbán noted that in its conclusions of October 21-22, the European Council invited the EC to propose changes to the EU’s “inoperable and obsolete” legal framework, to enable the member states’ “immediate and appropriate response” in migration issues.
“We can perhaps all agree that the current legal framework does not provide adequate means that Member States under pressure can apply in a crisis situation,” Orbán said. He cited as “the weakest link” EU regulations which require member states to allow free entry for anyone arriving from other member states, enabling asylum seekers to move between states before the asylum procedure is completed. This, in turn, “encourages other Member States to perpetuate internal border protection contrary to the Schengen Borders Code,” he said.
Since 2015, when the crisis mainly affected the EU’s southern borders, “Hungary has rigorously defended the security of Europe and the safety of its citizens by raising a physical barrier and doing her best to differentiate between those who required international protection and those who were only seeking the economic advantages that life in Europe represents,” Orbán said.
Referring to the crisis on the EU’s border with Belarus, Orbán said: “Now, we are facing new realities. Our economies are struggling and migration is on the rise not only in the south but also at our eastern borders and we must acknowledge that the severity of the current crisis even exceeds the challenges that we have faced when discussing our economic recovery [from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic].”
“In the light of the urgent and severe crisis, I ask the Commission to propose adapting the legal framework to the new realities and most urgently, discontinue enforcing the obsolete and obstructive regulations in place and suspend all infringement procedures that undermine Member States’ actions aiming at the protection of their territorial and national integrity, as well as the security of their citizens,” Orbán said.
In the featured photo illustration: PM Viktor Orbán and EC President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office