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Apr 18, 2016

Here it is: Hungary's 10-point action plan for the management of the migration crisis

In response to the European Union's proposal, a concept that the government of Hungary considers seriously flawed, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has presented a ten-point action plan for the management of the migration crisis.

Referring to the ten points as "Schengen 2.0," the prime minister said that where the EU's plan emphasizes the asylum system, the Hungarian proposal takes the view that “we must protect the borders.”

“[I]t is not acceptable – as would be the case under the Commission’s proposal – for someone in Brussels to decide that the countries of the EU must solve their demographic and economic problems through immigration," the prime minister told public service media after presenting the plan late last week at a meeting of the Centrist Democrat International in Lisbon.

Among the ten points, the Hungarian plan would reject the EU's mandatory resettlement quota system by emphasizing that such decisions remain solely a national competence. The plan would make strictly voluntary the process for the resettlement of immigrants. Despite clear opposition, the quota system keeps returning to the agenda. “[N]ow that we have Brussels’ official proposal on the table, there is enormous pressure on us," the prime minister said. "If we do not stop Brussels with a referendum, they will indeed impose [it] on us”.

What follows is a draft version of the ten-point plan.

Action plan for Schengen 2.0 - maintain and strengthen

1. Borders

Giving full effect of existing EU and Schengen legislation (Schengen Border Code) related to the control of external borders, including the systematic checks of EU citizens. The responsibility remains with the Member States, but should any of them fail to meet its obligation the European Agency for Border Protection should intervene with the agreement of the Member State concerned. In absence of that agreement membership of the Member State in question in the Schengen system would be suspended.

2. Identification

Further development of the modalities of protecting the external border through primarily the EU entry exit system and by compulsory registration of biometric identification data of all persons crossing the external border.

3. Corrections

Correction of the Common European Asylum System including the reestablishment of the proper functioning of the Dublin System including the full application of its rules in Greece. Abuse of asylum rights should be fought by stronger sanctions to be applied at national level.

4. Outside

Asylum procedures should be completed outside the EU in closed and protected hotspots before the first entry on the territory of the EU. The EU should contribute to the financing of acceptable living conditions and security in the hotspots.

5. Agreements

Agreements on readmission and return should be concluded and enforced with countries of origin and transit.

6. Return

Illegal migrants should be returned to the safe countries of origin or transit.

7. Conditionality

The foreign and security policy, the development policy and the visa policy of the EU should ensure the achievement of the objectives of the European Union’s migration policy. The evolution of the EU policies should be conditional on the cooperation of third countries.

8. Assistance

Frontline Member Countries’ as well as Western Balkan countries’ efforts to support the EU’s migration policy should be assisted by the necessary financial and other needs.

9. Safe countries

A common European list of safe third countries should be set up. That list should play a role in establishing hotspots. It should be taken into account that asylum seekers are not directly threatened after having crossed a number of safe third countries.

10. Voluntary

Answers to demographic and labor market challenges have to be subject to sovereign decisions of the Member States. In line with Article 5 (2) of TEU it should remain in national competence to decide whether they would rely basically on national or intra EU sources and policies or they intend to address the challenges through immigration from outside the EU. No compulsory and automatic distribution mechanism should be introduced.

Because of the high political importance of the subject matter political guidance should continuously be provided by the European Council over the legislative process.

With the above considerations Hungary would like to contribute to a dialogue which may result in a proper understanding of the nature and the dimension of the problems Europe is faced with to find solutions acceptable for all.

Budapest, 15th April 2016