Opposition Jobbik has called on the government to file an official request with the European Union for the reimbursement of the full 270 billion forints (EUR 883m) Hungary has spent on border protection measures since 2015.
This sum should then be redistributed among the law enforcement and army personnel who have contributed to border protection efforts, János Volner, the party’s group leader, told a press conference on Saturday.
Not only did those who have served on the border accept having to serve far away from their families but they also often had to work in undignified conditions, Volner argued. “Even prison inmates are often given better quality food than those who were tasked with protecting Hungary’s border,” he said.
Answering a question, Volner estimated that the 270 billion forints in question should be distributed among 50,000-60,000 officers.
GÁBOR VONA’S OPEN LETTER TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Dear European Commission, Dear Mr President Jean-Claude Juncker,
As the president of Hungary’s leading opposition party Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary, which is preparing for governmental work after the 2018 elections, allow me to offer my input for the European Commission and for You personally so that you could make a fully informed decision regarding the Hungarian Prime Minister’s request for the European Commission to contribute to the costs of protecting the Schengen border.
We are aware that the European Commission, having experienced a highly increased risk of corruption in Hungary, is rightfully wary when it comes to making decisions on supplying additional taxpayers’ money with regard to our country. We, the people of Hungary, who suffer the most from the systemic governmental misuse of public monies, know that your wariness is highly justified in terms of every Euro entrusted to be handled by the Fidesz government.
However, according to the views of Jobbik as well as the majority of our people, the PM’s latest request is reasonable. Not because the Fidesz government goes beyond its means to protect Europe, on the contrary: through its residency bond programme, it has even allowed criminals to enter EU territory with hardly any control, as long as they paid for it. Therefore it is not the Orbán government whose performance the European Commission should honour. In fact, it is the efforts of the Hungarian people, the police, the soldiers and their supporting taxpayers which the EC should show solidarity with, so that they could continue serving the historic mission of protecting Europe.
We agree with the Commission that solidarity is a state of mind. Indeed, solidarity is vital. Its presence may keep Europe together and make her strong, while its absence may shatter her. Today, the European Union wants to go out of its way to show solidarity for illegal immigrants instead of the European citizens legally residing here. The EU does so despite the fact that the latter (as your spokesperson put it) is not on the “á la carte menu”. The most fundamental European value is: solidarity with European citizens. At a time when a Hungarian, an Eastern Central European citizen gets one fifth of a western EU citizen’s wages for the same work, such solidarity is lost. Let us discover this key European value again. Let the Wage Union be a synonym of the bare minimum of solidarity expected.
Viktor Orbán’s request is justified. So is your fear. And so is our expectation for a wage union to be realized. In light of the above, let me ask You to join us in taking a step forward for a Europe of solidarity. Please support the Hungarian PM’s request but make sure that the current corrupt government strictly spends the requested amount on the wages and the improvement of work conditions for police and soldiers involved in border protection, so that they could earn, instead of their present pittance, honest European salaries for securing the EU’s borders. Let this step be our mutual message that Europe can rely on Hungary in the struggle against immigration and Hungary can rely on Europe in the struggle against brain drain. This is how solidarity, to use your spokesperson’s words, truly becomes a “two-way street”.
Gábor Vona, Jobbik’s president and originator of the European Citizens’ Initiative for a Wage Union
As we wrote, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has asked the European Commission to reimburse Hungary for half its spending on border protection, the government office chief said on Thursday. János Lázár said at a regular press briefing that the total cost since the start of the migrant crisis amounted to 800 million euros. Lázár said the issue of border protection should be discussed “in the name of European solidarity” and “solidarity must be demonstrated in practice”, so the EU should bear a part of Hungary’s costs.