Mar 11, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Yes, migration is the most important issue in the EP elections

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been saying so for months. It’s so important, in fact, says the PM, that it’s shaking up the traditional left-right alignment of politics and creating a contest between those who support immigration and those who oppose it.

Prime Minister Orbán is not the only one who sees this as the top issue. Others agree, including EPP Spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber.

At a CSU meeting in Passau earlier this week, MEP Manfred Weber said that migration is the number one issue in these 2019 EP elections, and proposed three points that the European People’s Party (EPP) should drive in the election campaign.

Europe must put greater emphasis, says Weber, on reinforcing external border controls. That should sound familiar to anyone who’s been listing to PM Orbán for the past, oh, four years. While campaigning with his CSU base, Weber also emphasized the need to take help to the hot spots outside of Europe to diminish migration from those troubled areas that are contributing to the waves of migration. That also sounds familiar. 

But that’s in stark contrast to what we hear from the eurocrats in the European Commission.

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says that “the migration crisis is over.” What’s more, the European Commission thinks that it’s a good idea to remove the topic of migration from the upcoming European summit’s agenda.

Because it’s “over”. It’s dealt with, according to Brussels.

Such a view is short-sighted at best. Yes, the number of migrants to Europe has dropped over the last few years, and yes, today’s migration rate runs below those of 2015. But it would be foolish to take the current situation for granted, especially when Europe remains so vulnerable.

“Today, in Turkey alone, there are four million migrants waiting for the route leading to Europe to be opened,” said Prime Minister Orbán in his State of the Nation speech last month. Add to that the tens of thousands of migrants registered annually in Greece and a similar number currently holding out in Bosnia-Herzogovina.

Had Hungary not reinforced its southern border – an external border of the EU – many of these people would now enjoy the benefits of uncontrolled and unmonitored movement in the Schengen Area. From our view on the frontier, and the facts on the ground, it’s tough to support the claim that “the crisis is over.”

“Migration is not like a pimple that just disappears after a while,” said Prime Minister Orbán in a radio interview on Friday. It’s a phenomenon that will affect our lives and even the lives of our children.

And the divergence of views between those who support migration and claim that the crisis is over and those of us who oppose immigration could not be any greater. It’s not going away, and it could have far-reaching impact on our European Christian culture. That’s why it’s the most important issue in these May elections.