Press Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán [full text in English]
Bratislava, October 7, 2016
Ladies and Gentlemen, Prime Minister, Dear Robert,
Thank you for having received me here, and for the opportunity to attend such a worthwhile meeting. I will briefly take you back to the highly successful EU summit you held here in September, which clearly demonstrated that we are all in the same boat: every European prime minister is in the same boat. I have come here now in order to provide information on the Hungarian referendum to the Honourable Prime Minister – the leader of the country currently holding the presidency of the European Union. We Hungarians have always attached great significance to the fact that Member States take turns in holding the EU presidency. According to the Hungarian way of thinking, the European Union is not in Brussels, but in Bratislava, in Warsaw, in Budapest, in Bucharest, in Berlin or in Paris. This is because the European Union does not belong to Brussels, but to the community of free nations. And Europe must remain a community of free nations. The outcome of the referendum is also known here. Ever since 1990 – since the beginning of Hungarian democracy – not a single referendum has demonstrated such overwhelmingly united will. And regardless of the fact that the Hungarian constitutional system imposes very demanding conditions on the legal force of a referendum, what has happened now is that three million three hundred thousand people have expressed their united will – and this fact cannot be disregarded. As the referendum alone was unable to enact legal or constitutional consequences, that task must now be carried out by Parliament. Therefore we must now amend our Constitution, in order for the Hungarian parliament alone to have the authority to decide whom we live together with. Or, to be more precise, we must supplement our Fundamental Law, rather than amend it. We must lay down that no one can impose any kind of resettlement quota on the Hungarian people. But the Honourable Prime Minister would have known this anyway, without me pointing it out.
I have come here now to tell the Honourable Prime Minister that this constitutional amendment will remain within the boundaries of the European legal system. He is now responsible for ensuring that the will of European prime ministers does not leave the boundaries of the European Union – that it does not overstep them. I have therefore given my guarantee to the Honourable Prime Minister that the amendment of the Hungarian Constitution will remain within the boundaries of the European legal system. The Treaties of the European Union lay down the concept of national identity, and clearly the territory of a country, the population and the form of government of a country all form part of national identity, which is inviolable.
The other reason I am here is also related to immigration. At the beginning of this year we European prime ministers adopted a decision. We even set a deadline, declaring that the Schengen system must be restored by mid-November 2016. In other words, the external borders must be securely protected, and the border controls temporarily reinstated within the Schengen Area must be removed. I asked the Honourable Prime Minister to enforce this earlier decision of ours, so that we may return to the former legal situation.
At this point, I would also like to say something about Slovakia – which Slovak politicians could not state in so many words, because it would sound like self-praise. But I would like to make it clear that, from Hungary’s perspective, Slovakia is a success story. Whichever figures I look at – fiscal deficit, unemployment figures – they are all outstanding within a European Union context. If I cross the border at Komárom, come here to Bratislava and return to Hungary, all I can say about Hungary is that we too, are trying hard. But your achievements did not come as gifts – and likewise, the Hungarian achievements did not just come out of nothing. The Slovak people and the Hungarian people have worked hard for these achievements. And I would like to repeat that – in the event of a major population movement, which I am convinced we are on the verge of – a mandatory resettlement quota mechanism with no upper limit on numbers could destroy all the success we have achieved. It could take away, and could destroy everything that we have worked so hard for. Europe is not a transit zone, Hungary is not a transit zone; and obviously, Slovaks likewise do not want their country to be turned into a transit zone. We do not want criminals, and neither do we want acts of terrorism. We want to protect the security of our citizens and the results we have achieved.
Dear Slovak Friends,
You may not have seen a migrant in the flesh, but this is mostly because we are protecting Hungary’s southern borders. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed our country illegally. Believe me, this is not a theoretical problem, but a flesh and blood reality: that hundreds of thousands of people stormed into a country with complete disregard for our legal system, and some of these then killed dozens of European citizens in Paris. We want to live in security, but what can happen in Paris can also happen in Bratislava, and may also happen in Budapest. This is not something which can be taken lightly – the stakes are high.So I am asking the Honourable Prime Minister to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves. We prime ministers are responsible for our own people’s security, and I am asking him to support the idea of removing the mandatory resettlement quotas from the agenda of the European Union, once and for all.
Finally, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for our bilateral relations. We have a great many splendid joint plans and we want to accomplish some great things together: we want to build roads, bridges and border crossing points, we want to assist each other as good neighbours – and I believe that we shall have the opportunity to do so in the next few years. We shall carry out important tasks for the benefit of both our nations.
Thank you very much.