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Orbán to Reuters: New EU Migration Pact Could Force Hungary to Welcome Migrants

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.09.26.

Hungary does not support the new migration and refugee package presented by the European Commission on Wednesday, Viktor Orbán told Reuters newswire on Friday. The Prime Minister also discussed economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, US elections, Russia, Brexit and forint weakening.

Under the package, Hungary’s commitment to send people back from the southern EU states like Italy or Greece, where they first arrived, could turn into an obligation to accommodate them in Hungary, he said.

Budapest will not agree to anything that could lead to Hungary being under obligation to take in people coming from the Middle East or Africa, Orbán said.

“That is a very problematic point… It’s nothing else but just renamed relocation. And we always reject relocation.

This point is not acceptable for the Hungarian people,” he said, adding that asylum applications should be managed in “hotspots” outside of EU borders.

Orbán said the devil was in the details of the proposal. He called it good news that “some taboos have disappeared”, and welcomed that the bigger emphasis was on returning to their homelands those not eligible for asylum in the EU.

“In Hungary, we are very strict that we would not like to have a parallel society, or open society or a mixed-up culture,” Orbán said, arguing that

“We don’t think a mixture of Muslim and Christian society could be a peaceful one and could provide security and good life for the people.”

“Brexit brave decision but Hungary will stay”

The prime minister called Britain’s decision to exit the European Union a brave one but said that

Hungary “can’t afford to follow that track” because it was too closely integrated in the EU.

Orbán said the EU only had itself to blame for the British referendum vote to leave the bloc because of the way it had treated the country. “We made mistakes, terrible mistakes,” he said. “Brexit is a brave decision of the British people about their own lives…we consider it as evidence of the greatness of the British,” he said.

Orbán said that there was a high level of support for the EU in Hungary despite the country’s many disputes with other member states over issues such as migration and the rule of law.

“Trump will win”

Orbán said he was convinced that Donald Trump would win the US presidential election set for November 3.

“We have an exceptionally good relationship with Trump,”

Orbán said in his interview. Answering a question, he added that “probably the level of openness and kindness and helping each other will be lower should Joe Biden win”.

“He (Trump) will win,” Orbán said. Once that happens, the European Union “will need to normalise its trade relationship with the United States and also establish clarity about the long-term presence of US troops on European soil”, he said.

The prime minister said Trump’s reelection would be good news for those that view the EU as a community of member states rather than as a bloc “built around its institutions”.

“Sanctions against Russia should be lifted”

On another subject, Orbán said that the EU should lift its sanctions against Russia. The Hungarian government sees no point in imposing further restrictions in connection with the poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, either, Orbán said, but added that if the community should initiate such sanctions “we are ready to consider”.

“We should be very, very tough on the military side in relation to Russia and we should be very cooperative on the trade side. We are very weak on military and we are very tough on trade,”

he said, adding that Europe should have a powerful army.

” Tax reduction and investment”

Orbán said the Hungarian government would promote development projects and reduce taxes to boost the national economy following the coronavirus epidemic.

“We concentrate on investments because if we have investments, we have jobs,”

he said. Answering a question on the exchange rate of the forint, Orbán said that such issues were within the scope of authority of the National Bank of Hungary. “If you look at the figures of the Hungarian economy of the last several years, they are splendid, and it’s partly due to the national bank. Facts create trust,” he said.

featured image via Orbán’s Facebook page