Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that the European Union must help refugees, but “we cannot help the world while destroying our own people”.
In an interview published in German publication Welt am Sonntag, the prime minister said he was in agreement with Pope Francis that the EU must help refugees on the basis of Christian love of one’s neighbor, but the question remains as to how to help them.
He added that Syrians fleeing for their lives have the right to enter the first safe state they arrive in, but the EU “let them march into Europe, and suspended all our laws to allow this”.
These people are not coming from war zones, “they just want to live better lives here than they could in Africa or Asia; therefore, rather than bringing migrants here, help should be taken there,” the prime minister said.
PM Orbán said Hungary is “more sensitive to the issue of migration than Germany”, because it lies in a danger zone. Therefore, when “masses of people enter the country, the alarm bells start to go off here”.
“We are showing solidarity, and yet we are being criticized for this; we have soldiers at the EU’s borders and this has cost us one billion euros so far. But what are Brussels and Berlin doing? They have not paid us a cent, and yet they castigate us,” he said.
“We shall not let Brussels tell us who we must take in,” only Hungary may decide on who can stay on Hungarian soil, he added.
He added that provided that this principle is respected, “we are happy to participate in an asylum system”.
One of the EU’s greatest achievements is Schengen, he added, “especially for us Hungarians, who have come from a dictatorship, and particularly value this freedom. If, however, we cannot protect the external borders, then our internal borders must be closed.”
PM said that being European is part of Hungarian identity, which is a combination of Eastern traits and Christian and European culture.
The prime minister said that there is a “mutual lack of understanding” between the East and the West concerning the issue of liberal democracy and the rule of law. He said Hungarians speak a “traditional and direct language”, while in the West they perceive themselves as being post-national and post-Christian, calling this “liberal” and “the rule of law”.
“We do not want this,” PM Orbán declared, adding that “We want our national and Christian identity”.