All refugees from Ukraine are being taken care of in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Beregsurány, at the Hungary-Ukraine border, on Thursday.
Orbán told the press that “in times of trouble, calmness, levelheadedness, experience and routine are of paramount importance”.
“We have crisis-tolerant ministers,” Orbán said, adding that most had already handled some kind of crisis, so coordination was working well.
He said the work of volunteers was well-coordinated and no donation would go to waste, with handouts distributed and forwarded to the intended recipients.
Refugees without acquaintances in Hungary to accommodate them are being placed in temporary shelters, he said. Centres have been set up around Hungary where they will receive food and shelter, even if they must stay for a lengthy period, he added.
Orbán said preparations have started to organize work for refugees. “We will try to offer an opportunity for everyone to create their own livelihood,” he said, adding that “this is a work-based country, and here we help everyone get work.”
Hungarian refugees who speak Hungarian and have ties to Hungary are in a less difficult situation and may soon find accommodation and work, Orbán said. He mentioned a family with five children he had talked to who already have a rented flat in Nyíregyháza and jobs “starting tomorrow”.
Refugees who don’t speak Hungarian and who may not have yet decided if they wanted to stay in Hungary are in a more vulnerable situation, the prime minister said. Concerning people from third countries, mostly students from India, Nigeria, and China, Orbán said that they could enter Hungary and leave for home under agreements with their embassies. He also offered them the opportunity to continue their studies in Hungary.
“There is accommodation, and for the time being there are supplies; there will be jobs, schools for students, we have translators, and … things are going smoothly,” Orbán said. He added, however, that apart from providing aid to refugees, “the key to resolving the situation is not in Hungary but out there.”
Answering a question from a foreign journalist who put it to him that the Hungarian government’s attitude towards foreign arrivals was “very different to what it was in 2015”, the prime minister said: “We are able to draw a distinction between migrants and refugees”.
“Hungarians do not live in the comfortable and secure West, but amid hardship, and it has been like that for centuries,” he said, adding that “migrants should stop, but refugees should be given all the help they can get.”
Featured photo by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office