All European countries must heed the will of their people on handling illegal migration, the government spokesman said on Thursday.
Addressing a news conference, Zoltán Kovács noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is scheduled to attend a European Union summit later today where EU leaders will discuss matters such as illegal migration, the bloc’s next budget, Brexit, EU-Russia relations and the unfolding trade war with the United States.
Recent measures imposed by Hungary allow the government to continue to take a firm stance on migration, Kovács said. He called Hungary’s migration policy “perhaps Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government’s most consistent position of the past three years”.
The Hungarian government’s position has consistently been that illegal migration must be stopped and Europe’s borders protected, Kovács noted. Those who enter Europe illegally must be sent back to their home countries, he added.
Any European solution to the migration issue must rest on the will of the European people,
Kovács said. And public opinion indicates that — like Hungarians — Europeans believe migration should be stopped and the continent’s borders protected, he said.
Any other solution that includes mechanisms or quotas for the redistribution of migrants across the EU or would violate the sovereignty of member states is “out of the question”, he said. Hungary has demonstrated that it is possible to combat illegal migration, Kovács added.
Asked about the government’s plans to impose a hiring freeze in public administration, Kovács said the government had made it clear over the past several years that it intends to cut red tape in the sector. This means maintaining a steady headcount, he added.
Situation of CEU
Asked about the situation of Budapest’s Central European University (CEU), the government spokesman said it would be up to Hungary, rather than the university or the education authority of New York State, to determine whether CEU complies with the country’s higher education rules. He said there were no threats to the university’s continued operations in Hungary, insisting that CEU could function freely within the framework of the country’s higher education law.
Earlier this week, CEU’s board of trustees authorised the university to open recruitment for the 2019-2020 academic year in line with the regular recruitment schedule in Budapest. In a statement, the university said it had fulfilled the obligations set out in Hungary’s law on higher education despite “the Hungarian government’s continuing refusal to bring the lex CEU matter to a conclusion”. It said an official letter from a representative of the New York State Education Office published on Tuesday confirmed that CEU carries out educational activities in New York State, as a result of which it meets the requirements of the Hungarian law dubbed lex CEU.