It is “absurd” to demand that Europe should automatically take in every migrant seeking a higher standard of living just because some countries have lower living standards than Europe, House Speaker László Kövér said at a conference on migration in Balatonszárszó, western Hungary late on Thursday.
Hungary has and will continue to take in anyone in need or facing persecution, but both the Hungarian government and the Hungarian people reject the idea of granting automatic entry to people,
Kövér said in a roundtable discussion that also involved Gergely Gulyás, head of the Prime Minister’s Office, and István Bogárdi Szabó, head of the Hungarian Reformed Church’s synod, at the Gathering of Reformed People. “This approach does not contradict Christian morals,” the house speaker added.
The international community, Europe and the European Union have a responsibility in how they manage and resolve the problems fuelling mass migration in other parts of the world, he said, adding that these issues should be debated at international forums rather than at a national level.
International forums “shouldn’t be busy with” forcing nation states to accept mass migration, but rather with organising international operations and schemes allowing the improvement of living standards in countries that millions are fleeing, Kover said.
Gulyás said every state’s primary responsibility was for its own citizens. “Others should be helped without endangering our own society,” he said.
“Instead of bringing trouble over here, help should be provided at the point where it is needed,” he added.
On the topic of the emigration of Hungarians, Gulyás said the phenomenon Hungary was dealing with was more about the free movement of labour. When Hungary voted in favour of joining the EU, it knew that doing so would allow each and every Hungarian to take up work in any country within the bloc, the PM’s Office chief said.
But Gulyás added that “proportionally Hungary is still in good shape because this is the country from where the fewest people have left for western Europe.” However, the government’s goal is to close the gap in living standards to the West, so that Hungarians working there will consider returning, he said.
Bogárdi Szabó said it was worthwhile discussing migration into Europe, emigration from Hungary as well as internal migration.
As regards that latter, he said two-fifths of Hungarians left their hometowns over the past 50-60 years.