Sep 26, 2016

PM Orbán: Egypt could add to migrant crisis

The prime minister told EU leaders at a summit in Vienna over the weekend that an agreement should be drafted with Egypt similar to the existing one with Turkey in order to avoid further pressures from the migrant crisis

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned that there are 5.5 million refugees in Egypt waiting to head toward Europe.

The prime minister told EU leaders at a summit in Vienna that an agreement should be drafted with Egypt similar to the existing one with Turkey in order to avoid further pressures to the migrant crisis.

"Without an agreement we may get a surprise,” the prime minister told a press conference after the summit. He also called for supporting stability in Libya, where there is a chance of building a “giant refugee city” where illegal migrants can be returned from Europe.

PM Orbán suggested to EU leaders that Europe should prepare to build a new line of defense, as a worst-case scenario, if the EU-Turkish pact fails. Adding that he welcomed an agreement among members of the Vienna summit that the western Balkan route must remain closed to migrants, but criticised that there was no answer on “when Greece can manage to close its border to the south”.

PM Orbán said Hungary was not the only nation to think that there is a need for a Plan B, as the pact with Turkey cannot be trusted.

One possibe defense line is on the Macedonian-Greek border, another is on the Serbian-Macedonian border and the third is the Hungarian-Serbian border, he said.

A fourth option, raised by Austria, is that it should be between Austria and Hungary, but Orbán said this would be “painful” and instead urged Austria to help “defend Hungary’s southern border together”.

He said he had held talks with the Macedonian Prime Minister and made it clear that if there were a new line of defense built south of the Hungarian-Serbian border, Hungary would provide assistance, both financially and in terms of resources.

The prime minister also said that the European Union should raise spending on handling migration and to distribute it more justly between the affected countries.

“The money is always given to Italy and Greece” while Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia receive “shamefully small sums”, he said.

He added that Hungary had been “tricked” by EU officials on the quotas, because twice it was announced that introducing them would be voluntary, yet a decision to the contrary was passed in the end.

PM Orbán insisted that hotspots should be set up outside the EU’s borders and only those who request and gain asylum status there should be allowed to enter Europe. “If this is implemented, we won’t need quotas,” he said.