Budapest, November 3 (MTI) – The Hungarian government will send its proposals on handling illegal migration to the Slovak EU Presidency, which is preparing a Plan B for resolving the crisis, government office chief János Lázár said on Thursday.
Addressing his regular weekly press conference, Lázár said the key points of the recommendations are that there should be no mandatory resettlements, that the Schengen border control system should be restored in Italy and Greece and that Hungary’s spending on fence building should be acknowledged as part of its “solidarity” efforts.
In order to pursue this “battle” (against migration), Hungary needs to amend its constitution, and the motion on this is expected to be voted on by lawmakers next Tuesday, after the codification of the bill is completed. Lázár said he urges all opposition lawmakers to vote for passing the amendment.
Commenting on a recent report by the Council of Europe claiming that Hungarian authorities have not given refugees acceptable treatment, Lazar said the government thinks the report is “a lie”. “The reported statements are false,” Lázár said, adding that the document is politically biased.
The government had asked the justice ministry on several occasions to examine the complaints Hungary was given in connection with the treatment of migrants. The ministry said the complaints and statements were untrue, he said.
Commenting on unconfirmed press reports that the “far-right militant group” led by the suspect in last week’s shooting of a police officer in north-western Hungary had organised training exercises for Russian secret service agents, Lázár said those reports should be looked into by parliament’s national security committee. Interior ministry officials will also have to brief the committee about their own findings in the case, he added.
Asked if other “paramilitary” groups would be investigated, Lázár said that the state had regained the monopoly on the use of force when it outlawed the Hungarian National Guard, a uniformed far-right movement along with other paramilitary radical groups. The interior ministry has a workforce devoted solely to preventing the emergence of such groups, he added.
Answering a question, Lázár confirmed that British Prime Minister Theresa May had invited Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on a working visit to the UK for next Wednesday. The two heads of government are expected to discuss, among others, Brexit, migration and bilateral ties, he said.
Asked to comment on the so-called Pharaon case, the government office chief confirmed that Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharaon had applied for a Hungarian visa at the Hungarian embassy in Beirut on October 24, 2014.
Pharaon is associated with financing terrorism and is allegedly wanted by the FBI.
Lázár said Hungary had asked six EU countries whether granting Pharaon a visa would hurt their interests in any way and also notified the US and Saudi Arabia about the visa application. Germany had no objections, while the US and Saudi Arabia have yet to respond, he said. Hungarian authorities therefore had no access to any information on the basis of which they should have rejected granting Pharaon a visa, Lázár added. He confirmed that Pharaon had visited Hungary after obtaining a visa. “Several things are unclear as regards his [Pharaon’s] identity, but the Constitutional Protection Office and the police are working to clear those up,” Lázár said.
The government has recently come under fire from opposition parties for its alleged dealings with Pharaon.
Quoting the prime minister’s earlier comments on the situation, Lázár suggested that Pharaon’s activities in Hungary did not pose a national security risk.
Lázár said the reason why Hungarian authorities had not arrested Pharaon when he was in Hungary in 2015 was because Interpol had only confirmed to Hungary that Pharaon is on its wanted list about six months ago. “If he came here right now then we would obviously arrest him,” Lázár said.