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Mar 11, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Take the issue of migration away from the European Commission, says Prime Minister Orbán

The prime minister has called for setting up a new European council of ministers of interior to take responsibility for migration and Schengen Area issues, a strong body that would handle these matters as experts, rather than politicians.

“Responsibility for the general issues raised by migration should therefore be taken away from the Commission,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his interview with Welt am Sonntag last week, and “the interior ministers from the Schengen Area should set up a strong body to decide on issues affecting the entire Schengen Area in a manner that is typical of specialists, rather than politicians.”

The idea struck a chord in Germany. An online poll found that 81 percent of Die Welt’s readers agreed with the statement that a council of interior ministers of the Schengen Area "would help to manage immigration into the EU better".

Prime Minister Orbán has long argued that the sovereignty of member states must take precedence on these questions. Only Hungarians should be able to decide who gets to live in Hungary. The authority to decide on issues of border control and immigration must remain with the member states, not some supranational body. And the Commission, said the PM, has proven ineffective here. Where the migration crisis affects all of Europe, it requires a more effective approach on the level of member states where the directly affected states could work together.

This separate council, according to the prime minister, would be formed exclusively by “interior ministers from Schengen Area countries – just as there is a separate council for the finance ministers of Eurozone countries”.

By taking the issue of migration away from eurocrats in Brussels and giving it to the ministers of the Schengen Area member states, we’d get more effective responses to the migration crisis that also reflect the will of the citizens.