Budapest, June 5 (MTI) – Countries should have the “most fundamental right” to decide which migrants to allow in, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public Kossuth Radio on Friday morning.
Orban criticised the European Union’s migration policies, adding that “if they didn’t force on us unrealistic rules there would be no refugees in Hungary — we would have already sent all those we have here back home”.
Orban insisted that migration rules should either be a national competency or the EU’s rules must be made “realistic”.
The prime minister also said that all migrants that come from the direction of Greece and Serbia, are no longer political refugees by the time they reach Hungary because “they are not coming from the countries they are fleeing”.
Concerning the European Commission’s proposal for a quota of migrants for each country to handle, Orban said it was a “failed idea” and member states were sure to reject it at an upcoming summit.
Orban said that some countries in Europe have an “even more radical” position on migration, mentioning the Netherlands and the UK as examples. “Several choirs are simultaneously heard in Europe, and our position has very serious, strong supporters,” he said.
Hungary’s national consultation concerning migration is “fair and open”, the prime minister said, but admitted that the questions included were not “immigrant-friendly”. “Why should we love immigrants, when residents see them as a hazard or threat?” He also suggested that Hungary’s leftists, on the other hand, “advocate the more migrants admitted the better”.
Orban rejected an analogy between Hungarians that fled the country in and after 1956 and immigrants of today. He argued that Austria had set up reception centers for Hungarians, and from those centers refugees could apply to one or another country for a settlement permit. “Those applications then were either accepted or rejected,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, the prime minister welcomed plans for closer cooperation between countries using the euro. At the same time, formalising a dual-speed bloc on the lines of those countries within the euro zone and those outside it would be undesirable, he added.
Summing up the achievements of the five years of his government, Orban said that the financial system is stable, there is no inflation, public utility fees have been cut, and “everybody trusts in the future of the economy”. He also said that investments are up and the foreign trade turnover is also improving. He added, however, that “we are still not living as we’d like” and “it is now time to work to ensure … middle-class conditions”. The government requests more consultations from cabinet members; “it must be made clear that if the government works well, there will be more jobs, fewer taxes, increased security and a more comfortable life,” he said.
Answering a question concerning mistakes he may have made, Orban said if he listed all mistakes during the ten years of his premiership “we would be sitting here all morning and afternoon”, but added that “the point is not to insist on your mistakes and the ruling parties have the ability to leave them behind”.