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Editorial

Prime Minister Orbán to UN General Assembly: Step Up Cooperation on the Migration Crisis

| October 8, 2015

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Wednesday to urge greater international cooperation to manage the current migration crisis. Europe will not be able to handle this burden alone, the prime minister emphasized, and if left alone, Europe will be destabilized. 

As PM Orbán pointed out, there is no general agreement on the nature and size of this challenge, but it’s currently out of control and unregulated. This enormous migration, according to statistics from Hungary’s borders, comprises “economic migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and also foreign fighters.” Not all the migrants come from war-stricken areas like Iraq and Syria but also from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Sub-Saharan region.

The prime minister proposed that the UN start negotiations to secure commitment from member states beyond the European Union to take in migrants based on a quota system. But that should not be the only response.

“It is our moral responsibility to give back to these people their homes and their own country,” the prime minister said. It “cannot be our objective to give them a new, European life.” He proposed that solutions should focus on the long term, recalling that migrants are victims of “mistaken international political decisions leading to war,” of “our mistaken, European politics creating unfulfillable hopes” and of the human trafficking business.

In closing, PM Orbán emphasized the importance of countering the spread of anti-Muslim sentiment and that the global goal should be to turn migration into an “orderly, safe, regulated and responsible” process.

The speech was short, but it summarized clearly how the crisis should be handled and the risks of leaving it to further mismanagement. In a lengthier interview in the Wall Street Journal (available here, summary here), the Prime Minister spoke frankly about how serious the migration crisis really is, and highlighted concrete examples of what should be done and what happens if nothing is done.

At last week’s meeting of the European Council, leaders of the European Union Member States decided to take important steps toward a sustainable solution. It’s now time for other responsible members of the international community to do the same.