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Jun 20, 2017 - György Bakondi

Borders must be protected

The migration crisis has besieged Europe for two years, and the terms “migration” and “immigration” have taken on new meaning because of it.

The migration crisis has besieged Europe for two years, and the terms “migration” and “immigration” have taken on new meaning because of it. In the new meanings, two fundamental differences emerge: consciousness and necessity. In the long run, the latter can splinter Europe’s peace and well-being in several ways. The reasons for involuntary migration may be traced back to armed conflict, religious and political persecution, environmental factors and economic hardship. However, complicating the current case, we can also observe that people and organizations driven by different motivations, harmful intentions or ideologies, exploit or even provoke the misery of those who live in hopeless regions.

Due to secularization and the spread of a distorted democracy, both characteristic of the 21st century, one can feel a growing divide between the state built on Christian foundations and political direction based on ideological grounds. The community values upholding European traditions and the principles based on nation states appear to be drifting into oblivion. The EU’s basic values such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, welfare and peace seem to be turned upside down. It’s as if fundamental rights had no meaning for those who created them, as if economic well-being and demographic decline mixed with nihilism were greeted by the alliance of European nation states with a voluntary blindness.

Illegal migration, over the long term, endangers this Europe. Huge masses arrive continuously and uncontrollably with little willingness to cooperate. Too many of them refuse to reveal their real identity, not to mention their goals. We know that there are terrorists among them, committed fighters of jihad. People with military training who started on their journey for the “sacred” purpose of infiltrating, under the cover of the waves of migration, those western countries that used to be their homes. They represent radical Islam, the jihadist Salafists who are determined to establish the real and absolute Islamic state. Let’s be honest: radical Islam has found its way into Muslim minority communities living in European countries. Their recruitment takes on extraordinary proportions, occurring mainly via social media complemented by well-organized and effective Wahhabi preachers. The targets of their recruitment are those second- or third-generation, young Muslims who reaped little benefit from the integration programs overrated by the EU and have become disillusioned with the “promises of the new world”. We must admit that the real results of decades-long integration efforts have fallen far short of expectations. We confront worrisome and frightening facts: there is a terror organization with an unshakable faith and unknowable intentions that aims to have Islam as a religion and type of state take control of the world.

On the other side, we have the European Union based on a weakened ideology. Western Europe, which pushes inclusion without any condition or constraint, has practically condemned everything that the sovereign Visegrád Four countries, accused of too much nationalism, were trying to do to restrain and regulate the waves of mass migration. We became instant fascists in a European Union in which enlightened democracy was once based on nationalism and national consciousness. Now, the leaders of Europe are divided. Some say that nation states themselves embody the obstacles to Europe’s development and further integration. They say that family, faith and nation and the self-awareness and inclination towards self-defense that result from them are at odds with the basic ideas of the EU. They want to force us to accept that our efforts to tackle the migration crisis are inhuman and an offense to the solidarity of which the EU was previously so proud.

Fact is, however, we did not do anything other than uphold the obligations and responsibilities of our EU membership. We defended – and continue to defend – an external border of the Schengen Area, provide assistance to countries on the Western Balkans migration route, and take part in the work of the European Border and Coast Guard by sending personnel and technical equipment in the name of solidarity. But we are adhering to our principles. We know that the connection between migration and terrorism must not be ignored. We believe that the defense of external borders can only be carried out together. We help those who apply for asylum with valid justification. We want to know who is requesting entry into our country and our community and with what motivation. Hungary did not build a border fence in order to isolate itself or to express its alienation from the European Union. Quite the contrary. The aim of the border control regime is the protection of our common values, maintaining the preeminence of values that are important to the European people, and guaranteeing security and freedom. We want to live in a Europe where those values are safeguarded in the future, in a Europe where our children are excited about and not afraid of going to concerts, where young people are organized not based on a thirst for vengeance but a desire for community building, where women are equal and independent and where our religious and cultural holidays are celebrated peacefully and securely on the streets and not in fear by citizens closed in their homes.

With this in mind, we cannot support the system of mandatory quotas, not even if the EU is willing to impose sanctions on us for that. Our current security situation – all over Europe – imposes a much bigger challenge and more serious consequences, and we cannot just stand by. The border protection regime is working and efficient. It has held strong and has significantly slowed down the influx of migrants that were previously spreading towards western Europe. However, from the Mediterranean Sea, the gates are still wide open, which actually motivates and encourages those who were previously reluctant to go. That’s not the way to communicate that Europe is working according to strict and rigorous principles. Instead, it broadcasts the message that anybody from any circumstances can come here, can take advantage of the social welfare system of “rich countries” and enjoy the benefits of working and living here.

The masses of the already crowded refugee camps of Africa and the Middle East can embark on their journey to Europe at any time, but their numbers won’t be stopped by a small coalition, a small country’s 290 km long fence.

György Bakondi is chief security advisor to the prime minister