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Mar 22, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: A mandatory migrant quota is out of the question, external borders must be defended

They’re not giving in, those who see quotas and pro-immigration policies as Europe’s answer to the migration crisis. We’ll see a “decisive showdown” in June, said Prime Minister Orbán this week, when the EU’s heads of state and government will gather in Brussels again. Immigration will feature as one of the overriding issues on the agenda.

“We must block this and we must confront it,” the prime minister said, referring to this effort on the part of the European Union to implement new regulations that encourage and support immigration.

The prime minister’s remarks, delivered following a special session of the European Union Consultation Body in the Hungarian parliament earlier this week, came on the same day as his meeting with Manfred Weber, chairman of the European People’s Party Group in the European Parliament, where they also discussed the EU’s response to the migration crisis.

A “mandatory migrant quota is out of the question,” the prime minister said. Europe’s response must first focus on “ensuring that illegal migrants cannot gain entry to Hungary and the territory of the European Union.”

“We must state when we are talking about migration on a European level, that Europe is full up,” Orbán said. The approach of the mainstream in the EU tends to give far too much emphasis to resettlement.

Speaking to the press following the meeting with Weber, Orbán stressed that Hungary has already submitted proposals for a new immigration system that would emphasize border protection to keep illegal migrants out.

That’s been Hungary’s stance since the early days of the migration policy. We must make security the priority and must strengthen the external borders of the EU.

“We should focus on ensuring that illegal migrants cannot gain entry to Hungary and the territory of the European Union,” said the prime minister. He spoke of the importance of external border protection, underlining the fact that once illegal migrants set foot within the Schengen Area there are no internal border controls to maintain security and limit movement.

As a country on the external frontier of the EU’s Schengen Zone, responsible under our Schengen treaty obligations to secure that border, Hungary has taken serious and costly steps to protect that European border and defend the freedom of movement that we all enjoy inside the EU.

“Europe is full up,” Prime Minister Orbán said, so we must defend our external borders. That’s been our position since the beginning, and we’re seeing a growing number of EU members coming around to that common-sense view. We’ll stand fast to that position at the EU summit in Brussels in June because for us, Hungary – the security of our citizens, the stability of our economy, the strength of our culture – comes first.