In the letter sent to Ursula von der Leyen, the prime minister said that the situation unfolding on the EU's eastern borders and the ongoing discussions between the Commission and Hungary have left some key questions unanswered.
He said that global challenges require increasing resilience to crises, and it was in this spirit that Hungary decided last July not to become an obstacle to the financial recovery of the COVID-stricken EU. "We must recognize that the current exceptional situation must be dealt with via special measures. Our security and territorial integrity are at stake," the prime minister said. Consequently, in this situation, the current legal framework must be adapted to reality and "member states cannot be held responsible or penalized for applying workable — but proportionate — solutions to the challenges we all face,” PM Orbán said.
The prime minister recalled that the European Council conclusions of October 21–22, 2021, unanimously agreed on the need for urgent action to address the recent migratory pressure and invited the Commission to propose the necessary changes to the EU legal framework, as well as concrete measures based on adequate financial support to ensure an immediate and adequate response. The rationale was that the current legal framework does not reflect reality and is outdated and dysfunctional, he added.
PM Orbán said that "we can probably all agree that the current legal framework does not provide adequate tools for member states under pressure to use in a crisis situation.” Highlighting only the weakest link in the current system, he pointed out: The right of entry to the territory of a member state should be granted to everyone, without the possibility of a thorough background check at the border before allowing entry to the country.
He noted that once in the territory of the EU, applicants leave before the asylum procedure is completed to their country of destination. Therefore, the risk of secondary movements, which encourage other member states to maintain internal border controls contrary to the Schengen Borders Code, cannot be eliminated.
The prime minister stressed that special circumstances require special measures. This was also the case during the COVID crisis, when it was decided to relax the rules on state aid and activate the general exemption clause, thus allowing member states to derogate from budgetary requirements.
He recalled that when the European Commission decided to launch infringement proceedings against the solution that Hungary had adopted to tackle the migration crisis, the migratory pressure was mainly on Europe's southern borders: from the east, via the Western Balkans, and from the south, via the Mediterranean. "Hungary has been steadfast in protecting the security of Europe and its citizens by erecting physical barriers and doing its utmost to distinguish between those who needed international protection and those who were seeking only the economic benefits of life in Europe," he said.
According to PM Orbán, the EU legal framework has consistently failed to address the situation, as have proposals that have never enjoyed the full support of member states over the past six years. He stressed that "we are now facing new realities.” Economies are struggling and migratory pressure is increasing, not only in the south but also at the eastern borders. "We have to recognize that the severity of the current crisis is a challenge even greater than the debate on economic recovery," the prime minister wrote in his letter to the EC President.
PM Viktor Orbán therefore called on the Commission, "in light of the serious and urgent crisis," to adapt the legal framework to the changed realities, to immediately end the imposition of outdated regulations in force that are preventing the resolution of the situation, and to suspend all infringement procedures that undermine the measures taken by member states to protect the territorial and national integrity of their citizens and their security.