Budapest (MTI) – No refugee camp can be established in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview to commercial broadcaster TV2 on Monday.
“The border has not been hermetically sealed but we are simply enforcing the laws that were in any case in force,” he said, adding that until now it was not permitted to cross the border beyond official crossing points.
A high rate of asylum requests are likely to be rejected after midnight, when stricter regulations take effect, the prime minister said. If someone declares themselves a refugee after having failed to lodge their asylum request in Serbia, their application will be rejected in Hungary, since Serbia is a safe country, he added.
He also said that on balance it was more likely than not that a crisis situation would be declared.
Orban said police would arrest illegal border-crossers who could face several years in prison and expulsion. Signs will be placed on the fence indicating where the nearest legal crossing point is, he said, adding that it is at these points that asylum can be requested.
Commenting on the decision by Austria and Germany to restore border controls, Orban said: “Now we could joke that the Austrians, having previously constantly criticised Hungary, are doing the same, but I think now is not the time.”
The prime minister insisted that the vast majority of arrivals are not refugees but were seeking a better life. He warned of the emergence of “parallel societies” in Europe if the bloc allows in migrants, and Christian Europe, he said, would be the loser in any competition between the two cultures.
In its interview broadcast by commercial TV2 late on Monday, Orban said that it was voter pressure that had made Europe’s governments quickly change their positions and introduce border control: “Europe is a democracy after all; you cannot act against the will of people for long and with no arguments.”
In central and western Europe people are concerned about their lifestyles; in countries with large and further growing Islamic communities parallel societies are being formed, which foretells a Europe in which our lifestyle will be in a minority, the prime minister said.
Orban also said that hot spots, refugee camps, collection or distribution centres would not be set up in Hungary. If there is a need for a refugee camp, it should be set up in Greece, he added.
As of Tuesday, illegal crossing will be a criminal activity, and perpetrators will be expelled from Hungary or imprisoned, Orban said, adding that the crossing stations for legal entry will stay open. “We will not close the border hermetically but enforce laws that have been in effect”.
“If immigrants arrive as refugees, the Hungarian authorities will ask them if they have applied for asylum in Serbia. If they failed to do so, their application will be rejected because Serbia is a safe country,” Orban said. He noted that the immigrants do not typically file such applications in Serbia.
Orban voiced the conviction that a large part of the immigrants are not refugees. Those coming from war-stricken countries have a right to a safe haven, and then to return to their homeland; the latter option is feasible if they stay in their region, that is why the international community should support such countries as Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey, he said.
“But these people who invade Hungary will not stop even in Austria. These people are not coming to find safety, they are not running for life. Those for whom life in Serbia, Hungary, or Austria is not good enough, are focusing on living standards: they want a German life,” Orban said.
“We cannot be asked to share what we have worked for with people whose life is no longer at risk”; they have the right to assistance, but it is not the same as “grabbing something the Europeans have earned”, Orban said.
The prime minister suggested that Tuesday’s government session could decide on declaring a state of crisis due to the influx of migrants. He added that Hungary has spent some 30 billion forints (EUR 957m) in connection with illegal migration, and could spend the same amount “in the coming period”. The European Union has granted “just a few million euros”, Orban said, adding that “the two numbers cannot be compared”.
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