European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement of a new European Union migration pact provides grounds for “cautious optimism”, Balázs Hidvághi, an MEP for ruling Fidesz, said on Thursday, adding that his party still needed to review the proposal in greater detail.
Speaking to public broadcaster Kossuth Radio, Hidvéghi said the specific proposals presented by the EC president on Wednesday signalled a noticeable shift away from former EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s approach to migration.
The new pact puts greater emphasis on protecting the bloc’s external borders and explicitly states that member states will not be mandated to take in migrants but will instead be allowed to demonstrate solidarity through other means, he said.
Hungary contributes to European solidarity by protecting the EU’s external borders, Hidvéghi said.
Member states that protect the external borders should not be held responsible for the other member states’ failure to do so, he argued.
“We’re in need of a paradigm shift,” Hidvéghi said. “The world must understand that you can’t enter Europe unchecked, that human smuggling must be stopped and that we must end the practice of allowing those who have entered to stay here.”
The MEP also underlined the need to accept that EU member states have the right to form their own stance on the issue of migration and that no position could be forced onto anyone else.
The new migration pact recognising this will be a “significant step forward”, Hidvéghi said, adding that such a principle would allow member states to address the migration issue in a variety of ways.
Hungary, for instance, contributes to the protection of the bloc’s borders, aids troubled regions and is also prepared to help with deportations, he said.