Hungary’s diplomatic efforts were successful in achieving the country’s goals regarding the migration deal between the European Union and Turkey,
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after a two-day EU summit on migration.
“We averted the biggest threat,” Orbán told the press, referring to a proposal by the European Commission that would have obligated EU member states to take in refugees. Under the deal agreed last Friday, the resettlement of migrants in EU countries will be carried out on a voluntary basis. Orbán noted that the Visegrád Four countries had been against the mandatory redistribution of migrants since the start of the crisis.
Concerning the agreement to provide financial aid to Turkey to help refugees, Orbán stressed that Hungary will not make any commitment that would put “unbearable” financial burdens on the country. Referring to a preliminary agreement, Orbán called it another success of Hungarian diplomacy that Ukraine will get a visa-free status before Turkey.
He said the biggest political achievement of the past six months in Europe was the western Balkan countries’ decision to protect their own borders and thwart illegal crossings over the so-called green border before the deal with Turkey was signed. He added, however, that the agreement with Turkey was needed because the stoppage of the migrant flow on the Greek-Macedonian and Greek-Bulgarian borders has made things worse in Greece.
Europe must now prevent further deepening of the migration crisis in Greece, Orbán said. In the absence of EU-wide co-operation in managing the crisis, the bloc might even “lose Greece” as a stable member state.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party said the EU-Turkey deal was “not a breakthrough”. Deputy leader Dániel Kárpát criticised the ruling parties’ “lenience” toward the voluntary quota mechanism, and said a voluntary system would lead to a mandatory regime and eventually to “having Europe flooded by an alien culture”. Jobbik called on the government to retain its plans to hold a referendum against the quota “or any of its mutations”.
The Hungarian Liberal Party welcomed the agreement but added that “the actual solution” was not imminent. The refugee crisis will only be resolved when the war in Syria is over, and the situation in that region is settled under international control, the party said.
György Bakondi, chief security advisor to Orbán, told public television channel M1 on Saturday that the agreement reached at the summit has not resolved the European migration crisis.
Bakondi said the closure of the western Balkans migration route and the tightened measures introduced in Turkey will have a “diverting effect”, and Syrian refugees could also arrive from North African countries.
He said we must not forget that so far over one million migrants have entered Europe, and this will continue to cause problems, due, for example, to the rise of terrorist networks. The fact that an agreement was reached is good news but there are still a lot of unresolved issues, Bakondi said. It was difficult to predict whether it would be successful.
DK: drop migrant referendum
The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) has called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to drop plans to hold a referendum aimed against the European Union’s mandatory migrant quotas. DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány said the EU-Turkey agreement removed any basis for the “treacherous” initiative, leaving “nothing for Orbán to incite hatred against”. The EU has made a good decision, Gyurcsány said, and “Orbán’s policy promoting individual solutions by member states” has failed. In future the prime minister would not be in a position “to cover up the failure of his government, the collapse of health-care and education, through creating a hysteria around migrants”.
Áder: V4 major help in ‘sobering up’ EU
The Visegrád Group (V4) has made a significant contribution to “sobering up Europe” and helping its leaders get a clearer picture of the migrant crisis, President János Áder said after talks with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, last Friday. Áder said that regardless of the kind of deal EU leaders put together with Turkey in Brussels, the fact that the migration crisis is not just a humanitarian but a national security issue as well is no longer up for debate. It has also become evident that the continent’s borders have to be protected and that the migrant inflow must be stopped, he said, adding that most EU politicians now admit it is time to act. Failure to understand the whole of the problem would also result in failure to resolve it.
Duda said that if the EU fails to come up with specific proposals for resolving the crisis, it will only deepen further. He said Europe will only be able to preserve freedom and safety within the Schengen Area if it takes concrete bold measures to solve the crisis. The EU should provide financial aid to Greece, where the majority of migrants were stranded, and to countries that housed a large number of Syrians in refugee camps.