Budapest, March 17 (MTI) – The second fence to be built on Hungary’s border will be able to keep out the largest of migrant crowds arriving from the direction of Turkey, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday.
“The people of Austria and Germany can sleep sound because the Hungarians will protect Europe’s external borders,” Orbán told public Kossuth Radio.
The prime minister reacted to Turkey’s partial suspension of its migration deal with the European Union.
Orbán noted that he had argued earlier that the EU must reach an agreement with Turkey, adding, at the same time, that “putting our security solely in their [Turkey’s] hands” was “not a smart policy”.
“Putting our security in the hands of Turkey while we constantly pester, attack and criticise them” is even less smart, he added.
Orbán said he did not consider Turkey to be blameless in the dispute with the EU, but added that Europe’s attitude did not seem harmonious considering that it looks to Turkey for security.
Orbán said this was why he had earlier called for building fences “with full force” while the deal with Turkey was in place. Because if the EU-Turkey deal “slips away” Europe will be right back where it started, the prime minister added.
On the topic of Hungary’s recent tightening of its asylum rules, Orban said he had laid out the changes to his European counterparts at the last EU summit in Brussels. The essence of the new legislation is that asylum seekers must remain in the transit zones set up on the border until their cases are ruled on, he noted.
“This does not constitute detention,” he said, arguing that migrants have the option of turning back to Serbia whenever they want.
“The prime ministers acknowledged what I had told them without making a single remark,” Orbán said, adding that Hungary is actually abiding by a European regulation with the new legislation while protecting the interests of the more prosperous western European countries.
Commenting on a ruling issued by the European Court of Human Rights this week saying that Hungarian authorities had acted unlawfully when they detained and deported two asylum seekers in 2015, Orbán said Hungary had been sued by an international organisation financed partly by Hungarian-born American financier George Soros, which had ended up winning the case. In other words the court punished a country that abides by the laws, he added.
Orbán also talked about a document about the future of Europe which the bloc is preparing to adopt next week in Rome in preparation for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the EU. Orban said he had to clash with the prime ministers of more powerful member states because they are preparing to adopt a text which says that migration must be managed well and in a humane manner. He said the EU should instead aim to keep migrants out of the continent and separate them from genuine refugees outside the EU’s borders.
Regarding the national consultation the government is set to start on the five dangers facing Hungary, Orbán said the consultation was necessary because Brussels was preparing to take away a new slate of national competences from member states. He noted that the five issues in question were “defending” Hungary’s utility price cuts, migration, ensuring the transparency of foreign organisations involved in political activities in Hungary, ensuring Hungary’s right to shape tax policy and “defending” job creation schemes.
On the subject of taxation policymaking, Orbán said if that were to be decided in Brussels, “multinational companies will benefit, but Hungarians will not.” The same would be the case if member states would no longer have the right to set utility prices, he added.