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Sep 16, 2016

PM Orbán: We must take action to save Europe from migrant crisis

Hungary’s interest lies in stemming the migration pressure on Europe, and the country is ready to help Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that when it comes to the migrant crisis “we must act, not surrender”.

The prime minister said that illegal migrants can indeed be kept out with the use of physical barriers and Hungary will remain defended against any threat.

Hungary’s interest lies in stemming the migration pressure on Europe, and the country is ready to help Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia, he said.

PM Orbán said the mentality that “there is no way they [migrants] can be stopped … we’d better start thinking about how we can take them in” constitutes “nihilism”. The people in Brussels are well-intentioned but naive, Orbán said, adding, however, that in a situation like the migrant crisis, naivety can “come back to haunt” Europe.

If the US is capable of keeping illegal immigrants from crossing its southern border with the use of physical barriers “then I don’t see why we Europeans couldn’t be capable of the same thing,” Orban said.

He said illegal migration is a matter in which it becomes “completely clear” that the solution is not to give more powers to the EU but rather to help member states fulfil the border protection commitments they had made in the Schengen Agreement. “But right now the situation is reversed because Brussels wants to curb the powers of member states in connection with the migrant crisis,” the prime minister said.

Orbán said there is a lot at stake in Hungary’s October 2 migrant quota referendum, arguing that if the EU’s planned migrant redistribution scheme is implemented, the EU will “take money away” from Hungary and spend it on “the migrants arriving here”. He said this would also apply to cities where leftist parties are in control of the municipal government.

This is why the referendum is not a partisan issue but a national one, PM Orbán said. The prime minister said he knew the direction Hungary could take after the referendum, adding, at the same time, that this also depended on the outcome of the vote.

Hungary is working on trying to thwart the European Commission’s migrant redistribution scheme, if not in the European Parliament then at least in the European Council, he said.

Regarding Friday’s informal EU summit in Bratislava, the prime minister said the EU will have to confront the mistakes it had made recently, the consequences of which he said have been Britain’s decision to quit the bloc and a threat of terrorism stemming from uncontrolled immigration.

PM Orbán said that while most migrants are entering Europe through Italy for now, he expected the migration pressure to increase on the Balkans route again once the weather worsens and the sea route to the continent becomes harder to travel.

He said that before the Bratislava summit the Visegrad Four countries will submit a document of their joint proposals to the European Council, MTI reports today.

He advocated providing EU aid to Bulgaria with a view to helping it in its border protection efforts. He added that Bulgaria’s border fence should be strengthened, too. The prime minister said there was a good chance that the EU will agree to help Bulgaria, arguing that it would be unfair of the bloc to abandon one of its own member states that is under migration pressure while it “sends large sacs of money” to non-EU countries.