A “mandatory migrant quota is out of the question,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following a meeting on Tuesday with EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber. The prime minister emphasized that the response should focus on “ensuring that illegal migrants cannot gain entry to Hungary and the territory of the European Union.”
“We must state that when we are talking about migration on a European level, that Europe is full up,” said Prime Minister Orbán, cautioning that the mainstream ideas in the EU tend toward a resettlement-centered approach to managing the migration crisis. As an alternative, he said, the government of Hungary has submitted proposals for an immigration system that would emphasize border protection to reduce illegal immigration.
Since the early days of the migrant crisis in 2015, Hungary has consistently advocated for a shift in the EU’s response toward a greater emphasis on security.
“We should focus on ensuring that illegal migrants cannot gain entry to Hungary and the territory of the European Union,” the prime minister said. Once illegal migrants set foot within the Schengen Area there is no border control to provide security or limit movements.
PM Orbán’s Tuesday meeting with EPP Chairman Manfred Weber came as the European People’s Party continued preparations for next year’s EP elections. With the Hungarian elections coming in less than a month, the prime minister stated it was a bit odd to discuss the 2019 EP elections, adding that from time to time it is the duty of leaders to look further than current mandates.
“Fidesz will run as part of the EPP Group. We belong to the European People’s Party. We are proud of this and we see ourselves as a strong party within it,” the prime minister said. He noted that even though Fidesz differs from the political family’s mainstream on certain issues, the EPP is a “big tent” and a traditional Christian democratic party has a place underneath it.
On Hungary’s role in Europe, Manfred Weber said that instead of criticizing Hungary, the EU should support those politicians – like Viktor Orbán – who protect the bloc from illegal migration. Very soon, he added, we’ll need an EU-level solution for the migration problem. The EPP Chairman praised the current state of the Hungarian economy and highlighted the “healthy” four percent GDP growth and Hungary’s unemployment rate that has dropped from 12 to a record low 3.8 percent over the last eight years. “I wish other European countries could achieve such economic success,” said Weber.
On Hungarian-German relations, Orbán stated for Hungary it carries utmost importance to have first-rate ties to Germany. He praised former CSU President Horst Seehofer on his appointment as minister of Interior in the newly established German Federal Government.
“We want to win the 2019 European Parliament elections and we also want to play a responsible role in the formation of Europe’s future,” said Prime Minister Orbán.