Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Migrants ‘must not be allowed in Hungary’

The only remedy for migration is not to allow migrants into the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public radio on Friday. Intelligence reports on migration "paint a dire picture" and strengthen the government's resolve to "carry on with what we have been doing so far", he said. Hungary was the first country which stated that "migration and terrorism go hand in hand", and the reports also underpinned this view, he added.

“It is obvious that the migrants are increasingly aggressive and resort to violence against each other and the border guards,” he said. “They apply increasingly harsh methods to cross the border fence and this radicalisation is actually backed by the appointed activists of terror organisations,” he added.

He said the situation at the southern borders was becoming critical because it “is being shaped and organised” by people trained to do so.

Migration, he said, was assessed differently by people without children as opposed to those who brought up children. The former, he added, considered migration to be a personal issue and thought about only whether they wanted to live in a country where migrants were around, while the latter also considered what type of country they wanted to leave behind to their children.

Orbán said the issue was not whether one would come across migrants in Budapest in the next 20-30 years but the fact that once migrants were allowed in, they could not be moved out. “And this means that our children, our grandchildren and several generations that follow will live in a world that will be unpleasant, uncertain, full or terrorist acts, crime and mini ghettos like Gaza,” he said, adding that this could still be prevented.

“Accepting illegal migrants and their presence in the country would lead to the people of that country not being able to live in security, peace or prosperity,” he said, adding that the issue required forging a broad international consensus.

Hungary’s “pro-migration” leftist opposition and Jobbik-Conservatives were undermining efforts to forge that broad consensus, he added.

“Accepting migrants would lead to not being able to live in safety, wellbeing and peace in Hungary, either,” he said.

This, he said, was already the situation in several western European countries that were once colonisers, and the 2015 wave of migration added to that, when even further migrants were allowed in. “In some countries, the local residents think that the country will never be the same as it was when they were born there,” he added.

Orbán said change was needed in Brussels regarding a migration policy that had “ruined the western member states” and which should not be forced on Hungary.

The prime minister said: “We don’t want mini Gazas in the districts of Budapest, terrorist attacks or gang wars.”

He said Hungarians should be thankful that they should not have to think about migration rules in a country where 10-20 percent of the residents were already migrants.

Hungary has a “tolerance offer” which is being communicated to the Germans, the French and the people in Brussels. “Hungary does not want to tell them how they go about their business but asks one thing: they should tolerate that Hungary acts differently,” Orbán said.

But, he said, people in Brussels wanted a unified policy on migration and to impose the same state of affairs that pertained in the western half of Europe across the entire bloc.

“They want to send their migrants here and force Hungary to build migrant ghettos, and they want to authorise Brussels to be able to send here any number of migrants when a state of emergency is cited,” he said.

Orbán said this issue would be the focus of a “big fight” in the coming months as well as a key issue in next year’s European Parliament elections.

Referring to a planned government public opinion survey, the prime minister said that if the government received confirmation of its policies in a National Consultation, then the Hungarian government would be able to “hold out”.

Hungary must protect its southern border and it must protect its position in Brussels, he said. Additionally, regulations on migration must be tightened in response to the increasing pressure of migration, he added.

The current regulations were suitable to handle the 2015 migration crisis but since the pressure of migration was now increasing, stricter rules were needed, he said.

Orbán said the new asylum law must clearly define the legal grounds and the circle of people allowed to reside in Hungary, and the law must be strongly enforced, he said.

The prime minister said that unless the legal grounds and timeframe for foreign stays in Hungary were clearly defined, “they will steal the country from us”.

“Hungary belongs to Hungarians, including jobs here and the right to decide how to live,” he said.

Orbán said parliament would adopt the legislation by year-end.

On the topic of the National Consultation public opinion surveys, Orbán said they served unity. “Power and the state as an entity in a community is defined by its ability to act in unison and to ensure that there is consensus on the most important issues, and that action is taken in view of the opinions formed in the process.”

Referendums, parliamentary elections and the National Consultation surveys “are the basis of that joint action, and strengthen it”, he said.

Regarding the EU, he said it had been created to ensure peace and prosperity in Europe. “But there is war now, and we lag behind in the competition with the large economic blocs of the world such as China, Asia and the US.”

“The Brussels leadership is making bad decisions that impact us all,” Orbán said, citing migration, the issue of Ukraine’s EU membership and the bloc’s relationship to the Russia-Ukraine war as examples.

European Union leaders “are doing the bidding of a globalist elite” rather than representing the will of Hungarians or European citizens, he said. “They are not our men.”

Orbán said the public rejected migration and war, wanted peace as well as a well-planned green transition that did not destroy industries, he said.

“The leadership in Brussels has been captured by a globalist elite and financial power interests,” he said, adding that they did not represent the interests of “the Hungarian, German, French or Italian people”.

Change, he said, was needed to ensure that Brussels bureaucrats “finally do what’s in the interst of European citizens” and not the EU itself, “because we are the union”.

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, Orbán said an agreement in Istanbul had been ready to sign but “the Ukrainians didn’t sign at the behest of the US, or at least that’s the diplomatic gossip.”

Europe’s stance during the 2015 Crimean crisis had been that the conflict must be contained “because an all-European conflict is not in our interest”. As the US entered the arena, a new approach replaced isolating the conflict with expanding it, he said. “That is not in the interest of Hungary or Europe,” he said.

“The war is ruining Europe,” he said. “What we are doing now is unsustainable and should not be continued.” Hungary, he added, did not support sending weapons to Ukraine and continued to oppose “sending Hungarian taxpayers’ money there”.

Orbán said Hungary was ready to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine but “funding the Ukrainian state and helping them to fight with weapons bought with our money” would have dire consequences for Hungary and would result in bankrupcy.

Regarding economic growth, Orbán said real wages had been growing since September. An OECD report said that real wages had been growing in Hungary since the second quarter, he said.

Orbán said the coming six weeks would be “difficult in politics”, with issues of the war and migration looming “amid attacks from Brussels”.

He said one of the most contentious issues was talks with Ukraine on EU membership, “which must not be undertaken”. “Ukraine is not in any way ready to conduct talks with a view to EU membership,” he said.

Orbán insisted that Hungary’s rejection of talks on Ukraine’s EU membership were tied to financial issues.

The EU “should give us what it owes us”, the prime minister said. The start of talks with Ukraine should not be connected to the monies Hungary is entitled to, he added.

The prime minister said the government had been determined this year to protect the value of pensions and jobs while curbing inflation to single digits year-end.

“We undertook three things …. we have fulfilled all three,” he said.

Orbán said economic growth would be restored in Hungary next year after having contracted to zero, “or even below that” this year.

“We must provide families with help through growth,” Orbán told public radio.

Growth, he added, meant job protection, higher wages and a higher standard of living.

Raising the minimum wage, the wages of skilled workers and the launch of CSOK Plusz, a revamped home purchase subsidy programme, “are matters for 2024” designed to boost Hungary, its economy and the situation of Hungarian families, he said.

Orbán said that if “certain economic indicators” were underperforming, “Brussels” could put forward “certain measures”, which, if rejected by a member state, would be enforced anyway because they had the means to do so.

“But they have no idea about Hungarian life or the laws of the Hungarian economy”, he said. “We know precisely how to restore economic growth, reduce the public debt [and] the budget deficit…”

Orbán said “Brussels” wanted Hungary to abolish its tax on excessive corporate profits, its subsidy system for household energy and its cap on loan interest rates. “But that would ruin the lives of Hungarian families,” he said.

“We will also have a big debate on economic policy issues”, the prime minister said. “The big issues will rather concern the January-September 2024 period, though they are also connected to the European elections due in June,” he added.

Orbán said almost all issues could be agreed on with “a good, sensible, down-to-earth European leadership”, but the current leadership was lacking and “should be replaced”.

“A new, better and friendlier European Union leadership is needed in Brussels,” the prime minister said.

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