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Oct 01, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

Commissioner Avramopoulos speaking on migration doesn’t represent the whole of Europe

Last week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, an unelected public servant who is charged with representing our common EU standpoint, presented his own views as if they were the common, European policy. That’s a problem. “This man is our employee,” said Prime Minister Orbán. “It is his duty to represent us.”

In his remarks last Wednesday, Commissioner Avramopoulos told the United Nations General Assembly that the EU is currently developing immigration systems to comply with the UN’s Global Compact for Migration.

“The outcome of the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Migration Compact is a positive development for all of us,” he said adding that the European Commission has recently called on the member states “to enhance legal pathways to Europe.”

That’s baloney. Recall that Hungary openly criticized the direction that the Global Migration Compact was taking, that it was pushing migration as a good thing and encouraging migration by enhancing, as the commissioner said, “legal pathways” to immigration. We weren’t alone in voicing our disappointment.

The United States abandoned the Global Migration Compact negotiations early on and for the same reasons that Hungary has criticized it. President Trump, in his address to the General Assembly last week, struck a much different tone, much more similar to our own when he spoke frankly of the “threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration” and that migration “should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens.”

Furthermore, in addition to Hungary, we have several member states in the EU that have clearly stated that they don’t desire to become immigrant countries. It’s unacceptable that Avramopoulos purported to speak on behalf of the whole of the EU when he is well aware that several member states disagree with the pro-migration agenda promoted by some in the European Commission.

“This Greek man is our employee,” said Prime Minister Orbán in his interview on Friday morning on Kossuth Rádió, “we pay him, and so his duty as a member of the European Commission is to represent us.” If he’s unable to represent every member state, the prime minister added, he should refrain from voicing his personal opinions in the name of the European Union.

The prime minister also noted that Avramopoulos had no authorization whatsoever to speak for all 28 members and lead the UNGA to believe that in Europe everyone regards migration as a good thing, which should be promoted.

If an unelected commissioner can just show up at an international body like the United Nations and present his own views as if they were the EU’s official policy – when they are clearly at odds with the common EU approach – then, Prime Minister Orbán said, we have a serious democracy problem.

That problem of unaccountable, unelected, international bureaucrats and the importance of sovereignty was something that President Trump also addressed. “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy,” the president said. “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination.”

Clearly, as Commissioner Avramopoulos reminded us this week, we haven’t seen the end of the struggle in Europe over the proper response to migration, but the government of Prime Minister Orbán will defend Hungary’s sovereignty and not allow such grave decisions to be forced through by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens.