Economic migration is a bad thing and Hungary cannot give refuge to people leaving their homes for this reason, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public television M1 in Paris on Sunday after attending a rally in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.
Orbán said it is now necessary to talk about immigration and related cultural issues more openly, sincerely and in a straightforward manner. He expressed hope that a composed and calm analysis of recent events will point European leaders and Brussels in the direction of introducing strict policies that restrict immigration in Europe.
“Economic migration is a bad thing in Europe and one should not consider it useful because it will only bring trouble and danger to European people, so immigration must be stopped, this is the Hungarian position,” he said. Those that left their countries for political reasons, to save their lives, “should be given what’s due, that is shelter”, but Hungary could not give such refuge to economic migrants.
Compared to other European countries, there are few “people with cultural backgrounds different from ours” in Hungary and these few have mostly fit in well, providing for their own well-being, willing to work, with skills and a desire to find their place in Hungarian society, Orbán said. There was no problem with the minorities that currently live with us and their numbers were not growing at a rate that would “give us a headache”.
Sympathisers gathered at the French Institute in Budapest to express their solidarity with France after the two attacks in Paris. Solidarity is the greatest force against terrorism, French Ambassador Roland Galharague said at the memorial event.
“We have gathered here in front of the French Institute today to reassert our rejection of terrorism, hatred and violence, and to declare that nothing can undermine our dedication to free speech, press freedom or the freedom of conscience and religion,” Galharague told the gathering. He said French people were touched by the solidarity expressed by senior Hungarian officials and ordinary citizens after the terrorist attacks.
István Íjgyártó, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s deputy state secretary, stated full solidarity with France. The commemoration was attended by senior officials of the Justice Ministry and Bernadett Szél, the co-chair of the opposition LMP party. Participants lit candles and many carried banners reading “Je suis Charlie” and flowers. The French embassy expressed thanks for the solidarity the Hungarian president, prime minister, foreign minister, government, society, politicians and the press expressed with the French people.
President János Áder and Orbán condemned the shootings in Paris at the offices of a satirical magazine and a kosher store that claimed 16 innocent lives. Expressing his condolences to his counterpart Francois Hollande, Áder said he “was deeply shocked and grieved to hear about the fatal terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s headquarters”.
Áder extended on behalf of the Hungarian people condolences to the families of the victims, to the injured and their relatives. He said Hungary grieves with France for the victims of such heinous murders. Hungary condemned all forms of terrorism and stood firm in favour of protecting the common European values of freedom of thought, opinion and the press. France could count on Hungary’s support in the fight against perpetrators of such vile and cowardly acts.
Orbán, who sent a telegram to Hollande, said he condemned the attack most resolutely. “Nothing can justify this ruthless attack and inhuman violence,” he said, expressing condolences to the families of the victims and to the French people, and wishing quick recovery to the injured.
The prime minister called for a new policy, pointing out the need in Europe for new means of defence and stabilisation to prevent upheavals and movements that threaten security. A Hungarian delegation left for Paris on Sunday to commemorate the victims. Orbán said the advance of terrorism in Europe is a reality today, and is growing day by day. European people were under attack, as well as their freedom and way of life; all of this threatened the security of our everyday life.
Orbán said we cannot allow ourselves to fail to look the matter in the eye. Europe must be able to protect itself. Political correctness no longer offered protection against savage barbarism. Hungary had committed itself to protecting European values and would play its part, on its own strength, in this struggle of vital importance. “We Hungarians are prepared to cooperate with any such European political force that proposes a solution and wants to fight against these new threats,” Orbán said.
The Együtt (Together) party said it “rejects all forms of violence and hatred and condemns all forms of terrorism”. The Dialogue for Hungary and the Green Front Youth Movement said their representatives lit candles in tribute to the victims by the Budapest French embassy.
The Islam Community in Hungary called the attack horrible and dreadful, just as all other terrorist acts. Such an act harms Muslims the most, the community said, and expressed sympathy with the families of the victims and with the French people.
Two Frenchmen ‘tried to cross Hungary to reach IS’
In December two French male youths attempted to cross Hungary and reach the Middle East so they could join the Islamic State (IS), the head of Hungary’s Counter-Terrorism Centre has told commercial broadcaster TV2. János Hajdu said the centre had received information about the French nationals, and on this basis they were detained at the Hungarian-Serbian border crossing of Kelebia and handed over to the French authorities. He added that this had not been an isolated or single case. Hajdu did not know of any Hungarian national with a similar aim as the Frenchmen. Last November a young Dutch female attempting to join the IS had been stopped at Kelebia.
Fidesz calls all-party counter-terrorism talks
Fidesz group leader Antal Rogán has called five-party coordination talks on counter-terrorism. The shocking and brutal attacks in France call for a national consensus on counter- terrorism in Hungary, Rogán said. Opposition Socialist spokeswoman Bernadett Budai said party leader József Tóbiás will attend coordination talks on counter-terrorism measures initiated by the ruling Fidesz party. Budai said the situation in Hungary is completely different from the one in France but the safety of the Hungarian people is extremely important, which is why the Socialists will attend the talks. LMP will also attend. Co-leader of the green party András Schiffer said globalisation based on free trade keeps recreating terrorism, among other things; solutions by police are only to put out the fire but a real solution lies in eradicating global imbalances. Radical nationalist Jobbik leader Gábor Vona had earlier proposed to immediately set up a coordination forum on counter-terrorism.