Budapest, September 29 (MTI) – Had Hungary not fulfilled its obligations concerning illegal migration, Europe “would have fallen” by now, the prime minister said in an interview to free-distribution daily Lokál on Thursday.
Viktor Orbán told the paper that by implementing strict border protection measures last year Hungary did not “reinvent the wheel” but simply “did what is done in more sober parts of the world from the US to Israel: we protected Hungary and with it the European Union’s borders.”
Concerning the Oct. 2 referendum on EU mandatory migrant quotas, the prime minister said Hungary and Europe’s future would be at stake on Sunday. He said the European Commission had not withdrawn its plan to impose migrant quotas on member states but in fact it reiterated it last week.
He said Hungary was still committed to a shared European future, but added, however, that the EU needed to make policy changes so that “we can preserve the Europe that we all love and consider home and for which we have already sacrificed so much.”
Orbán said it was highly problematic that EU member states cannot even agree on a common starting point for managing the migrant crisis.
He said migrants who had entered Europe illegally should be moved outside the EU’s territory, but added that many member states are not “brave” enough to do this. He said several countries believe that it is better to just “accept” illegal migration because Europe had “always gotten through” everything in the past. But this time it is different, Orbán insisted. “Either we are able to preserve our homeland and Europe as we love them or we will lose them,” he said.