Mar 25, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Budapest Summit on Migration: The migration crisis today cannot be compared with what we saw in 1956

If we try to manage migration and simply accept it, we contribute to the problem, experts say. To solve it, EU member states should focus on the root causes of migration.

“Hungary has its own experience of what war and escape mean,” said Minister of Justice László Trócsányi in his opening remarks at the final day of the Budapest Summit on Migration, “but when we talk about borders and migration today, we have to say that today's migration cannot be compared to what followed after the Soviet troops destroyed the revolution in 1956.”

“It is important that those involved in migration cooperate with the authorities, and it cannot be allowed that some people simply want to live in certain places,” the minister said, referring to the difference between mass migration for economic reasons and those who are genuinely refugees.

Citing a recent article in La Libre Belgique on the UN Global Compact on Migration, Minister Trócsányi noted that the UN pact places much greater emphasis on migrants over host countries and their citizens. For example, in the UN document, migrants have 113 rights but only 7 obligations. That, said the minister, may eventually have serious legal consequences because it may be used as a reference.

Pete Marocco, deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in the U.S. Department of State, welcomed Hungary’s commitment to fighting illegal migration to stop terrorists entering into Europe.

“Your determination to prioritize the protection of your citizens is a shining example to others in the region who seek greater security within their own borders,” he said, adding that it makes an important contribution to regional stability.

“Immigrants can bring enormous benefits to a nation,” said Clifford D. May, founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, but “size matters and mass migration resulting in a rapid demographic change is a bad idea for Hungary, the United States or any country.”

“Multiculturalism has become a radical ideology,” May said, “the multi-culturists insist all cultures are equal and it does not matter if the culture of the West dies. Other cultures with equal value replace it.”

“The response of the Hungarian government differs from that of other countries,” said Tristan Azbej, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for the Aid of Persecuted Christians. Hungary has a strict policy and a strict double-border lock coupled with a generous humanitarian policy.

In 2016, the Hungarian government launched a program to help persecuted Christians and established a department dedicated to the cause. “The Hungarian policy is based on the principle of not bringing trouble to Hungary,” Azbej said, “but taking help to where it should be. We are not afraid to speak up on behalf of Christians who are persecuted and we need to deal with it.”

“We, Hungarians, believe that we belong to European Union because we have contributed to what we call Europe, European identity and the European way of live over centuries, and we feel that this is under threat,” said Szabolcs Takács, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for EU Affairs.

“When we talk about migration today, we have to be honest and we have to admit that the European Union was unprepared for the migration crisis that started in 2015,” said Takács, adding that “hundreds of thousands marched through Europe without proper security screening or entry authorization.”

“Instead of solving the problem, the focus was on managing it which turned out to be a mistake,” he said, adding that “this approach should have been temporary and should have been replaced by a long-term strategy focusing on migration.”

“The Commission’s management approach pursued self-serving political interest by ignoring other views,” he said. “The leadership roles have to be returned to the member states,” Takács said.