Preparing For A Long Struggle To Protect Europe – PM Orbán's Monday Speech On Tackling Mass Immigration In Full
Ferenc Sullivan 2015.09.23.
Below, we are publishing the full text of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s address to Parliament before the start of daily business, delivered on 21 September 2015. In his speech given to MPs in the National Assembly, the Prime Minister gave his assessment of the immigration crisis, informed fellow Members of Parliament on the Hungarian government’s position to tackle the problem and called upon them to support the government’s fight against mass immigration regardless of party affiliation.
Honourable Speaker, Honourable Fellow Members of Parliament,
I sought leave to speak at the beginning of the autumn session in order to give an account of recent events. The issue of illegal migration has burst into our lives with such force that I am now compelled to present my statement on it to the Honourable House. Before presenting my account, however, I wish to take this opportunity, in the name of the entire country and every Hungarian, to thank the members of the police and military forces serving at our borders. They are discharging their duty in a disciplined, humane and firm manner; in other words, their performance is exemplary. We thank you for the service you are rendering to the country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am going to tell you what the Hungarian government believes to be the nature of the problem in the context of illegal migration. I must speak of why we are quarrelling with the European Union. I am going to tell you what we have done so far to curb immigration and to protect the borders of Hungary and Europe; and finally I shall say a few words about what we may expect in the next few months.
Breaking down the doors
In simple terms, to call a spade a spade, the problem is mass migration. Immigrants are now not just pounding on our doors, but are breaking them down on top of us. Not just a few hundred or thousand, but hundreds of thousands – indeed, millions – of migrants are besieging the borders of Hungary and Europe. We cannot see an end to this. There is plenty of supply: millions are setting out. The following is not an exhaustive account. Iraq is a country of 33 million, where 8 million people are in need of humanitarian aid; in other words, 8 million people rely solely on humanitarian aid, and according to our projections this number will increase from 8 million to 10 million by the end of this year. Of these 8 million, we can say that as many as 4 million are internal refugees. Syria: four years of civil war; 12 million refugees receiving humanitarian aid; 7.6 million internal refugees, 4 million of whom have been forced to leave for neighbouring countries and are currently living in refugee camps. Afghanistan: 950,000 refugees in Iran, 1.5 million refugees in Pakistan. There is a civil war in Libya; continual internal insurrections in Eritrea; Mali is facing an internal war; and there is a semi-civil war situation in Somalia. If we add up the figures – the number of people and war situations – we can conclude that the number of internal refugees in the Sub-Saharan region is around 12.5 million. This is the summary report on the situation. The North African line of defence has collapsed: the “Arab Spring” resulted in chaos, as the institutions of representative democracy – regarded by us, or rather by the West, as the only true form of state – remain inoperational in places where there is no will to operate them. Additionally, the European Union is weak. Already at the beginning of the year, there were signs that this would not end well. Those with keen eyes could see that the migration pressure would escalate. More and more people have set out, human traffickers have created their routes effectively with the help of the authorities, and Europe has not only left its doors and windows wide open, but has even sent out invitations to immigrants.
We take the view that it is the most natural thing in the world to want to protect one’s own family. This is just what we are doing now. Hungary has been a valued member of the larger European family for a thousand years. It is its historic and moral duty to protect Europe, as Hungary thereby also protects itself. The reverse is also true: when we protect the borders of Hungary, we also protect Europe.
Wealth and weakness: a disastrous combination
Thanks to the mass media and the internet, it is now clear to everyone that Europe is rich, but weak. This is the most dangerous combination possible. From their own viewpoint, it appears to be a perfectly reasonable decision for those who live in difficult circumstances to set out for a rich but weak region of the world in order to take their share of the good life there: in this instance, here. We understand this. We understand that many of them are forced to leave countries where some are committing atrocities against their own people, where the economy has collapsed, and where unemployment has broken all records. The migrants themselves are the victims of bad political decisions. In fact, the world has turned its back on these people: the world has turned its back on states in which human dignity is not respected, and where it is degraded on a daily basis. We understand all this. But based on simple mathematical calculations, it is easy to see that Europe is unable to take on all the troubles of the world.
We are unable to support all the economic migrants. A minimal understanding of economics and our experiences to date are enough tell all of us that we are unable to give jobs to everyone. Furthermore, we cannot even be sure that they all want to work hard. I think it puts things into perspective when one sees that there are some who are not even satisfied with Austria, and who then move on to Germany; and it also puts things into perspective when one sees immigrants demonstrating in Germany because they want to go on to Sweden. The situation is made worse by a spate of serious crime. A Europe which requires its half a billion citizens to respect its laws is unable to persuade migrants to undergo a simple registration process. Brussels’ policies and the great powers made the situation even worse when they proved to be unable to grasp the root of the problem, and saw people who are clearly illegal economic migrants as being refugees. As a result, we find that our borders are in danger, our way of life based on respect for the law is in danger, and Hungary and the whole of Europe are in danger. What is happening now is an invasion; we are being invaded. It is, however, a daily experience in Europe now that those who have been invaded are unable to offer shelter.
Fighting the battle on two fronts
Why are we quarrelling with Europe? You can see for yourselves: we need to fight a battle on two fronts. We must protect the borders of Hungary and Europe, and at the same time we must also fight against Europe’s short-sighted policy, which has turned against the will of the European people. I get the impression that many people are not willing to see the full gravity of the threat. First of all, they do not see mass migration as a threat or as a problem, but as an opportunity which we should welcome. We can understand the European left. They indeed look upon migration as an opportunity enabling them to destabilise the nation state and accomplish their historic goal: the elimination of nations. There is a reason why political forces are taking turns in criticising Hungarians for standing up for our thousand-year-old statehood, the country’s sovereignty and our national independence. We have got used to this since 2010. But it is not only the left which takes this stance: we can find people from across the entire political spectrum who through their conduct have even encouraged migrants to leave their countries and risk their lives en route for Europe in the hope of a better life. The consequences for us and for Europe are disastrous: as Europe is unable to protect its external borders, an increasing number of internal borders are being closed within Europe, one of the most important achievements of which has been the free movement of goods and people, commonly referred to as “Schengen”. So we are quarrelling with Brussels. We have diverging views on the problem, the means by which to resolve the problem, and the consequences of the problem. We have different ideas about what is going to happen if we take or do not take certain steps. One thing is certain, however: we must reconsider a number of European achievements, agreements and institutions. But in the meantime, we must not sit here doing nothing. As long as Europe is unable to take united action, the individual nation states will be forced to defend themselves against this brutal threat in a fierce struggle, beyond their means, and by making extraordinary sacrifices.
We have done everything we could within the limits of the law. And in the future we shall continue to do our utmost, and to punch above our weight. I believe that this is what our people expect us to do. More than one million citizens have voiced their views on immigration. The results of the National Consultation are there for anyone to consult: we published them on the internet. More than eighty per cent of Hungarians think that Brussels’ ill-chosen immigration policy has failed, and therefore the rules must be tightened.
The country must be protected
The Hungarian people have decided: the country must be protected. Every action the Hungarian government has taken to date, and every measure it will take derives from this overriding duty. In 2015 there are two political trends in Hungary: one which seeks to protect Hungary and the Hungarian people, and seeks to preserve our national culture and European identity; and one which for some reason works to oppose all this.
It is not for fun that we have built and are building hundreds of kilometres of border fences. It was not for fun that we earlier convened the Honourable House for an extraordinary session to pass legislative amendments allowing us to curb mass migration and protect Hungarian citizens and their families. And it is not eccentricity which leads us to employ our own solutions: we are simply seeking to observe treaty obligations.
What can we expect? No one should think that the problem will disappear overnight. No one should fall for the illusion that the government measures we have adopted will in themselves curb the flood of people which is putting pressure on the whole of Europe. We should instead prepare for a long struggle. On behalf of the Government, I can assure you that we shall make every effort to protect Hungary, the borders of the country and the Hungarian people. We shall persevere, and shall not compromise on this. But until there is a united European action plan, we cannot end the problem; we can manage it within our national remit, but we cannot solve it.
We have proposals on a solution to the problem which could lead our countries to a functioning pan-European action plan. We are talking about simple, logical solutions, dictated by common sense. If, for instance, our Greek friends are unable to protect the borders of Europe and the borders of the Schengen zone, we must take over their protection from them; all twenty-eight Member States should take a share in the protection of the southern borders of Europe. It is therefore obvious that, instead of diverting the problem towards the heart of Europe, we must take action at the source of the problem; we should not set up refugee camps – or whatever they may be called – within the European Union, but outside it. We should help the countries which have so far sheltered millions of war refugees, in order to enable them to provide more decent conditions for the people who do not want to come to Europe, but who want to return to their homes once the war is over.
Proposals such as the quota system merely address the consequences, rather than the causes. This is not a European action plan. The underlying philosophy of the quota system is not aimed at ensuring that no more economic migrants come to Europe, or protecting Europe and the European way of life. It would instead spread the problem – based, I believe, on the silent recognition that migrants who have already entered Europe illegally will be reluctant to go back home. In response to this, we Hungarians say: leaders in Brussels have put the cart before the horse. We suggest that we should first put an end to the mass migration, and once we have succeeded in protecting our borders, we should discuss what should happen to those who are already here or who want to come here. At all events, we must persuade them to respect our laws. We must make it clear to everyone that Europe is Europe because explicit rules govern our co-existence. In Europe the rule of law does not mean oppression, but the provision of protection and security. We must also point out that everyone here has worked hard to live in peace and security: both individuals and the national communities together have worked hard for this. In Europe, welfare is not something you are entitled to as a matter of course: it is something that you have to work for.
Honourable Fellow Members of Parliament,
Finally, I ask you, regardless of your party affiliation, to support the Government in the fight against mass immigration. Because we only have one country, and it is the duty of us all to protect it.
Thank you for your attention.
Above are the Prime Minister’s responses to the opposition’s questions following his Monday speech (with English subtitles)!