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Feb 14, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

Prime Minister Orbán: We cannot give in to extortion

Recently, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel sent an ultimatum to the Visegrád countries. The essence of the ultimatum was that by the end of June, if a consensus is not reached in the European Council, then the mandatory migrant quota system will be adopted with a qualified majority vote - overruling dissenters.

“Our party board has taken a stand: we cannot give in to extortion,” said Prime Minister Orbán in response to the ultimatum. “For us, Hungary is first. We will fight those who want to change the Christian identity of Hungary and Europe,” he said in a short video posted on Facebook hours after his Belgian counterpart issued the ultimatum.

It is unacceptable in the European Union - an integration built on the foundation of consensual cooperation of sovereign countries – to blackmail member states and their democratically elected governments. It not only contradicts the fundamental goals and values of the EU, but runs contrary to the clearly articulated will of the people.

On several occasions, our citizens have said they don’t want Hungary to become an immigrant country. They don’t want to live under the threat of terrorism. They want security and want the borders to be protected.

“Perhaps it doesn’t bother the Belgian prime minister that there are no-go zones in many Western European cities,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó.“Or that people with immigrant backgrounds have committed 27 major terrorist attacks in Europe recently.” Szijjártó added that the V4 doesn’t want to live on a continent where the threat of terrorism becomes “everyday regularity."

At the same time, some EU leaders now look at the original quota plan – and how it was pushed through with qualified majority voting - as an established precedent, a means to force a decision upon all member states even if the Council fails to reach consensus.

“The Belgian prime minister’s quota threat also designates the primary stakes of the elections, namely whether Hungary will become an immigrant country or not,” said Csaba Dömötör, parliamentary state secretary of the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister on Hungarian Public Radio.

Extortion has no place in a union based on the consensus of sovereign, democratically elected governments. Running roughshod over the will of the people by forcing measures like the mandatory quota system is democratically tone-deaf.