The European Union has a new proposal on migration which is against Hungary’s interests because it is still centred around the mandatory relocation of migrants across the bloc, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said after talks with Boyko Borisov, his Bulgarian counterpart, in Sofia on Monday.
The number of migrants to be taken in by member states under a mandatory resettlement scheme keeps growing, Orban told a press conference. Under the most recent proposal, Hungary would have to take in 10,000 people a year rather than the 1,000 that was to be allocated to the country originally, he argued. Orban said it looked like the EU was proposing a resettlement quota scheme without an upper limit.
The debate around mandatory quotas encourages migration, Orban insisted, adding that migration poses a threat to Europe’s public safety, welfare and Christian culture. He said Hungary has prepared its own proposal that is focused on the protection of the EU’s external borders rather than the distribution of migrants. There is no point in talking about the distribution of migrants until the EU can guarantee the protection of its borders, Orban said.
He said Hungary’s constitution makes it clear that only elected and authorised individuals or organisations can decide who can reside and live in Hungary. Orban said Europe should demonstrate solidarity not by distributing migrants across the bloc but by protecting the external borders. He said Hungary’s proposal requires all member states to fulfill their obligations to protect their borders. If a country is incapable of or unwilling to fulfill this obligation, the Schengen area’s “line of defence” should be “moved back by one country”; to one that is willing and able to keep migrants out.
Hungary’s position on the issue of migration has not changed, Orban said. The situation is tough in many parts of the world, but Hungary believes that those in need of help should receive support in or around their homelands rather than “bringing trouble over here”, the prime minister said. He praised Bulgaria’s efforts to protect its external borders, by which he said the country had also protected Hungary.
Orban said he had congratulated Borisov on how Bulgaria has shaped its relations with Turkey. Borders must be protected but these arrangements also have to be laid down in agreements, Orban said, vowing that Hungary would always support the Bulgarian-Turkish border protection deal.
The Bulgarian EU presidency faces a historic task because the European Union has a chance to take a decisive step towards the integration of the Balkan region, Orban said. He hailed the decision to hold a conference on the Balkan region in Bulgaria in May. He said this conference would have to be the occasion for the EU to make a final decision on enlargement, mainly with the addition of Montenegro and Serbia to the bloc. In addition, the conference would also have to decide on some major projects, he added.
The Balkan’s political integration into the EU is not enough, Orban said. The region will have to be “connected” with the EU as well. If there are no railways, high-speed rail links, roads or motorways then a political declaration will not connect the Balkans to the “EU’s economic body”, he said. “But this is what we all need,” Orban added.
Source and photo: MTI