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Sep 05, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

These Western leaders are beginning to sound like PM Orbán on migration

Recently, following his meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau ‘sounded the alarm’ on the growing number of immigrants entering Canada. Although “Canada is an opening and welcoming society,” Prime Minister Trudeau said, “we are also a country of laws” and “there are rigorous immigration and customs rules that will be followed. Make no mistake”.

When I first heard the Canadian PM's remark, I couldn’t help feeling like I had heard something like it somewhere before.

“All the rules and laws have to be followed,” said Prime Minister Orbán in an interview with Portuguese daily Expresso in May of last year. “If someone wants to enter Hungary, they need to go to the official border checkpoint and present their identification documents. Those who don’t follow this procedure are committing a crime.”

The Canadian prime minister is not the first western leader to echo PM Orbán’s positions on the migration crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron recently proposed setting up immigration hotspots outside the EU, in Libya, to process asylum claims. Prime Minister Orbán has been promoting this idea since the early days of the migration crisis, arguing that centers should be set up outside the territory of the EU. The Hungarian experience clearly showed that many migrants, once they reached EU territory, did not cooperate with the asylum process. Instead, hundreds of thousands took advantage of the open internal borders and traveled illegally onto other destinations in the EU – not a few to Germany. As I’ve noted on this blog several times, as it turned out, even terrorists used this loophole as an easy way to sneak back into Europe.

Two years ago, in a Europe paralyzed by the masses pouring over its borders, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called for a pro-security response to the crisis: enforce the rules, strengthen the borders and move the security risks outside EU territory. When Hungary began taking measures to enforce the rules and protect Hungary – and, by extension, Europe – the prime minister was sharply denounced by critics who suggested Europe should just open up the borders, let the undocumented illegal masses in and it will be alright.

As Europe and the rest of the Western world sees for themselves what Hungary as a border country witnessed first hand in terms of mass migration pressure – a systematic violation of the rules, illegal border crossings abetted by non-governmental organizations, rioting and lack of cooperation with the relevant authorities – more and more of the Western leaders are sounding exactly like Prime Minister Orbán. Even those, who were criticizing him and Hungarians back then.

More and more leaders are adopting positions similar to those PM Orbán has been proposing since 2015. The task is simple: laws should be kept and political agendas should never override the rule of law. When the Hungarian prime minister proposed this approach In 2015, some dismissed it, but today we're finally seeing common sense prevail.