The fight against illegal migration needs to be completed with criminal measures, while the Hungarian constitution requires an amendment stipulating that foreign nationals cannot be settled in the country, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said on Tuesday.
“For us Hungary comes first, and protecting the sovereignty and security of the country follows from that,” Gulyás told a news conference in connection with the “Stop Soros” bill and draft changes to the constitution now before parliament.
He said the government still believes the organisation and financing of illegal migration should be criminalised.
Gulyás said that because of the government’s proposals to tighten the laws on migration, it was facing a growing number of “attacks” from abroad. He said the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR “did the best job”, noting that it had released a statement protesting against the government’s bills just two hours after they were submitted last week.
Gulyás said it was “obvious” that US financier George Soros would “continue lobbying” against Hungary over the coming period, but voiced hope that Hungary was strong enough to prevent Soros’s activities from affecting Hungary and Europe’s migration policies.
On the subject of the European Union’s migrant quota plans, Gulyás said the government would make efforts to prevent the adoption of mandatory quotas at an upcoming EU summit. If necessary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will veto such a decision, he said. Gulyás added that recent remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel were “clearly encouraging” on the matter, noting that she had conceded that the EU’s migrant redistribution scheme had been unsuccessful.
Asked about the compatibility of the government’s constitutional amendment proposal with EU law, Gulyás said the proposal did not contradict EU law, only “Brussels’s approach to migration”.
On another subject, the PM’s office chief said that later on Tuesday he will leave for Berlin with Zoltán Balog, the former human resources minister, Katalin Novák, state secretary for family and youth affairs and Csaba Hende, head of parliament’s legislative committee, to meet CDU and CSU politicians as well as German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth.
In response to a question, Gulyás noted that Fidesz and CDU/CSU were both members of the European People’s Party, adding that “we consider them our allies and we, too, strive to act as such and expect the same from them as well.” Fidesz is able and willing to help the EPP, he said, adding that Fidesz was the group’s “most successful and most-supported” member.
Gulyás denied press reports suggesting that Fidesz was holding early talks on joining a different European political alliance.
Commenting on the formation of Italy’s new government, Gulyás said he saw it as a vindication of the Hungarian government’s policies. He said migration had been the number one issue in the Italian election, and the electorate voted in political parties that strongly oppose Brussels’s policies supporting migration.
Asked about the government’s reaction to Amnesty International launching a campaign for the human rights of refugees with a view to increasing the number of legal migration channels, Gulyás said the government was not surprised. He added, at the same time, that he believed AI was “skewing reality” by bringing legal migration channels into relation with the human rights of refugees.
Featured image: MTI