Immigration main divider among EU countries, Orbán tells German daily
The old differences among European Union member states have become irrelevant; the main source of division now is whether member states wish to be “immigrant countries” or “non-immigrant countries”, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview published in Germany’s Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday.
“Some countries have decided that they want to have a mixed population while others want to stay as they are now,” Orbán said. “For us, this is also a domestic security issue and no one can force their will onto someone else. The key question in Europe is: How are we going to live together like this in the future?”
Orbán said this question — at this point — was more about emotions than rationality.
The discussion centres mostly on the differences among member states rather than how the issue can be resolved, he said. “But the future of Europe depends on how we answer this question.”
Orbán said he plans on staying in the political arena and wants his ruling Fidesz party to remain “a strong and solid pillar within the alliance of non-immigrant countries”.
On the topic of the European Court of Justice’s decision to dismiss Hungary and Slovakia’s legal challenge against the EU’s migrant resettlement scheme, Orbán said the ruling had said nothing about whether the European Commission even had a right to resettle anyone in Hungary against the will of the Hungarian government. Yet this is the key question, he said.
“We believe that a country’s territory and population are a part of its constitutional identity and that no European body can declare an obligation on the part of the country in question in connection with this,” the prime minister said.
Orbán said that with the exception of one country, no EU member state had implemented the EU’s decision on the redistribution of migrants. In light of this, it would be unfair to single out Hungary for criticism, he said.
On the subject of last week’s parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic, Orbán said he would continue to pursue strategic cooperation with that country in the future, too. “I know the winner of the elections there. He is easy to cooperate with,” Orbán said of billionaire businessman Andrej Babis.
Asked about the key to Hungary’s economic success, Orbán said that his government had created a labour-based society after 2010. The government has targeted full employment and it is “just an arm’s reach away”, he insisted. The other “secret” to Hungary’s success is that “we want to stand on our own two feet”, he said.
“We don’t intend to fix the Hungarian economy using German money
and we have fully paid back the IMF-EU loan we had taken up to manage the [economic] crisis,” Orbán added.
The prime minister was also asked if he felt that Germany was dominating its relations with Hungary. “Germany is bigger, wealthier and stronger than Hungary. But even if we are smaller, Germany must respect Hungary,” Orbán said. “And since this is usually the case, we have no reason to complain,” he added.
Asked about German domestic politics and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which came third in the country’s federal election last month, Orbán said Fidesz’s sister parties there were the CDU and the CSU. “We by nature are loyal and will remain so; we will not look for new allies,” he said.
featured image: MTI – Máthé Zoltán