The Hungarian government will not give up its right to control the country’s borders, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his address at the opening of parliament’s autumn season on Monday.
“We will not allow anyone to take away one iota of our border control rights,” Orbán said, adding that “we have more skill in controlling the border than anyone in Brussels or in any international organisation”.
The prime minister said he will fight for Hungary’s border control rights at this week’s European Union summit in Salzburg.
He said Hungary had proven that it is capable of protecting its borders.
Orbán insisted that Hungary’s border guards were “not only professionals but patriots”, who had taken an oath to protect the country and “this is something money cannot buy”.
He added that “Brussels does not aim to protect the European Union’s borders but to set up a reception service to manage immigration rather than to stop it.”
“They want the keys to the gate,” he insisted.
“Hungary is neither a passageway nor refugee camp; if we wanted to mix with other cultures or civilisations we would hold consultations first,” Orbán said. He added that he would “not advocate that idea to the Hungarian people”.
Orbán said immigration would be the number one issue in next year’s European parliamentary elections. In this respect, European politicians have split into two factions: those in favour of immigration and those opposing it, he said.
Hungary is under attack because it has decided that it does not want to become “an immigrant country”, he insisted.
He said in connection with the elections that it was “just about time for the current European elite to go”, arguing that they had “failed to keep Britain inside the European Union and migrants out”.
Immigration and the “migrant invasion” is not a partisan matter but a priority for the nation, Orbán said. Hungary shows solidarity towards all anti-immigration governments, regardless of its partisan make-up, he added.
The prime minister said he agreed with the EU proposal to strengthen the protection of the bloc’s borders, provided that countries not strong enough to protect their frontiers will be given help.
“But it isn’t right that they want to take away our right to protect our borders and have Brussels control Hungary’s border protection,” he said.
Orbán also said public safety has deteriorated in Europe since the start of the migration crisis. Altogether 347 people have been killed in attacks committed by people with immigrant backgrounds since the start of the crisis, he said.
On the topic of the Sargentini report approved by the European Parliament last week, Orbán said the document had been drafted against Hungary and not the Hungarian government. He said its text contained “absurdities” about anti-Semitism in Hungary, among other issues. “The centre of modern anti-Semitism is in fact in Brussels, from where anti-Israel political operations are financed,” Orbán said.
The Hungarian government will take legal action over the approval of the report, he said, adding that he has put Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, in charge of Hungary’s appeal.
As regards the state of the economy, Orbán said Hungary’s economic model had again performed well over the summer.
Orbán said the unemployment rate at the end of the first half of the year was 3.6 percent, making Hungary the third-best performer in Europe after the Germans and the Czechs.
By 2030, Hungary will be among the five best and most livable countries in the EU, he insisted.
Orbán said “it is almost certain” that pension premiums will be paid again at the end of the year in light of the agreement between the government and pensioners that links the economy’s performance to extra pension payments.
He also made note of the recent announcement of new investments by BMW in Debrecen and by MOL-ThyssenKrupp investments in Tiszaújváros.
Orbán noted that 1.5 million children have started the new school year and that 1 million received textbooks free of charge, something that was “perhaps” unique in Europe.
Orbán also noted that 85,000 students study in higher education, up by 2,500 since last year, and 65,000 receive a state scholarship, 5,000 more than a year ago.
He underlined that the government has pursued a family-oriented policy but new initiatives, he added, were needed. Soon, the government will launch a “National Consultation” in order to canvass views on further steps, he said.
Featured image: MTI