Brussels, September 3 (MTI) – Europeans, including Hungarians, are “full of fear” because European leaders are incapable of managing the migrant crisis, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a joint press conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Brussels.
Orban said the Schengen, Dublin and Frontex regulations all make clear that the periphery countries of the Schengen zone, like Hungary, are responsible for protecting the area’s borders. He said Hungary “has done everything” to abide by these regulations.
The prime minister said the crisis is “not a European problem but a German one” because none of the migrants want to stay in Hungary but want to travel on to the West. “We don’t have any difficulties with those who want to stay in Hungary, but nobody wants to stay in Hungary, nor in Slovakia, Poland or Estonia,” Orban said.
Responding to a question from German public service news channel ZDF, Orban said managing the crisis was “not a question of strategy but regulation”. Europe’s regulations are completely clear, he said, noting that both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann had said that no migrants were allowed to leave Hungary without first being registered. “Everyone wants to go to Germany. Our job is simply to register them,” Orban insisted. He said crossing the border illegally, camping out at the train station shouting “Germany!” and “Merkel!” while trying to charge through the police blockade without registering in hopes of leaving the country was not an option for migrants.
The prime minister noted that the Hungarian parliament was going to pass a series of amendments aimed at tightening border controls, which are set to take effect in mid-September.
The prime minister asked the EU not to criticise Hungary for doing its duty. Referring to the package of proposed amendments before parliament, Orban said the new laws would “bring about a new situation in Hungary and Europe”, noting that asylum-seekers, human smugglers and neighbouring countries would all be informed about Hungary’s new laws and “how the border can and cannot be crossed”. Orban expressed hope that Hungary would achieve its goal with the new laws. “Perhaps not the following morning, but eventually Hungary will have the situation at the border under control and will be in a position to stick to the rules applying to EU member states.”
Orban said the Schengen Zone is under threat but Hungary is committed to defending it, for multiple reasons. Orban said the first reason was to do with humanity because “what is happening right now is an embarrassment, chaotic and is un-European.” He said the situation had to be kept under control in a civilised manner, which cannot be done without border controls. “This is the top priority; without it there is no use of discussing refugee quotas. If we cannot do this, it poses a threat to Schengen, because Austria and Germany will say that if we cannot protect our borders, they will protect theirs.”
Orban said Hungary intends to protect the right to free movement within the EU, which means that the country’s borders also need to be protected. Talks on refugee quotas could steer the discussion on border protection — which he said was the real issue at hand — “in the wrong direction”. He said it would be a “moral failure” to give the impression that migrants may “come and go as they please since we can take in everybody; this is not the case”.
The right thing to do would be to say “please, don’t come, Turkey and Serbia are safe countries, stay there, as the road is risky and there are no guarantees that you will be allowed entry here,” Orban said. There are a number of safe countries between the EU and the war zones from where the migrants are coming which would be better for families, he added.
On the topic of Hungary’s border fence, he said signs would be placed on it to clearly indicate legal border crossing points.
When asked whether Hungary was in need of further financial support to manage the humanitarian crisis, Orban said he was not in Brussels to hold talks about money.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Schulz said he did not believe that member states could achieve any success through individual measures, adding that EU-level solutions should be found for tackling the issue.
If the EU introduced a quota system using a “distribution key” among member states in proportion to their population, economic performance and the number of refugees taken in, Hungary would most likely be in a much better position than it is now with the measures applied, Schulz said.
The EP president asked Orban to help find a common European solution for promoting legal immigration, ensuring temporary protection to people who are fleeing civil wars and providing shelter to asylum seekers.