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Oct 31, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

This Channel 4 journalist doesn’t understand the difference between freedom of movement in the EU and illegal migration

Last week while in London, I had the pleasure of sitting for an interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on ITN’s Channel 4 News. Our conversation focused on the migration crisis and, specifically, Prime Minister Orbán’s opposition to allowing mass immigration to Europe.

The interviewer of course referenced the prime minister’s recent remark that Central Europe is the last “migrant-free zone” in Europe – in no small part because Hungary has reinforced our stretch of the EU border – and he took issue with our outspoken defense of the Christian identity of Europe, a sentiment, according to Channel 4, that is “at odds with mainstream politics in much of Europe.”

It was stunning, really. To listen to this interview is to behold the yawning gulf that has grown between the western media elite and the people of Europe, particularly the citizens of Hungary and Central Europe.

For example, when I spoke of our opposition to the large-scale migration of a different culture to the European continent and that Christianity is the core of European culture, Guru-Murthy said this:

“But Europe? I mean, [Christianity] is not really a sort of fundamental of Europe, is it?”

Stop and let that sink in for a moment. “Christianity is not really a sort of fundamental of Europe.” Never mind that it’s historically false. Put aside for a moment all of European history, the pillars of our western civilization founded in Rome, Athens and Jerusalem. Forget the founding fathers of the European Union, the words of Robert Schuman that “Europe will be Christian or it will cease to be.” Even today, that view expressed by the Channel 4 journalist is completely at odds with the view of many, many citizens of Europe.

It just got worse from there. We got into a back-and-forth about Hungary’s opposition to immigration and our defense of the freedom of movement in the European Union, which he seemed to think is hypocritical.

“So you must be very sympathetic to those people in Britain,” the Channel 4 presenter said, “who don’t like the idea of Hungarians coming here?” He simply didn’t understand that citizens of the EU have the right to freedom of movement in the European Union because we’re citizens of the EU – that’s what makes the whole thing work – but those who are not citizens of the EU don’t have an automatic right to enter the EU and move about freely within it. It became almost painful in this exchange:

G-M: “It makes you wonder, though, if you don’t like migration, why are you in the European Union?”

Me: “Well, because the European Union is not about migration.”

G-M: “Well, the freedom of movement is a fundamental, isn’t it?”

Me: “The freedom of movement is for European citizens. It’s not for third-party citizens, or those who are trying to come to Europe as illegal migrants.”

But he pushed back again, arguing Hungary wouldn’t be happy with a certain kind of immigrant from Britain. Clearly, he wasn’t getting it.

“We are not talking about the same thing,” I said, “when we talk about, say, Hungarians coming here, working here in the UK with other central Europeans in great numbers contributing to your GDP, working very hard, because they are European citizens. So, don’t try to argue for me that this is the same. I mean internal movement, free movement of people and goods is not the same as illegal migration.”

More than 13 years after joining the EU and two years into the migration crisis, these are the kinds of fundamental misunderstandings and, to put it bluntly, ignorant questions Hungary has to deal with.

Watch the interview here.