Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

Orban: EU leaders lack will to stop migrants

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, said Sunday (28 February) EU leaders had no will to get a grip on the migration crisis, and vowed to fight pressure from Brussels to take in more refugees.

In a “state of the nation” speech, Orban told supporters he did not blame the migrants for only doing "what they think is best for them" by coming to Europe, but European leaders for failing to come up with a plan to reverse the tide of people.

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“Europe's future is endangered primarily not by those who want to come here, but by those political, economic and intellectual leaders who are trying to transform Europe in opposition to the European people,” Orban said.

“Migration can be stopped,” Orban said, arguing that Europe “has the technological, strategic and economic might to defend itself”.

“It is enough of a problem that Brussels cannot organise Europe’s defence, but the bigger trouble is that it lacks the will to do so,” he told his supporters in a traditionally blunt speech.

He blamed German chancellor Angela Merkel's welcoming response to refugees as one of the factors responsible for the crisis, saying the “wilkommenspolitik” came as a surprise as a few years ago European leaders said “multiculturalism is dead”.

Orban has been at the forefront of a coalition of eastern European countries that have resisted Brussels’ calls to share the burden of taking in refugees, with Hungary and Slovakia challenging an EU decision at the bloc’s top court.

The controversial PM, who has been criticised for building a fence at the southern border with Serbia and Croatia, said his government was making preparations to build a fence along the Romanian border.

He said eastern Europeans were more aware of the “threat of mass migration”, seeing the warning signs first, than western Europeans, whose sense of reality was "dulled".

Orban described the EU’s response to the migrant crisis as “absurd” and compared EU leadership to the captain of a ship that is about to crash who spends his time “designating the non-smoking lifeboats instead of trying to avoid the collision.”

Orban said newcomers did not want to integrate and it was not possible to compensate for the ageing European workforce with young Muslim masses, saying parallel societies threatened the security and identity of Europe.

The Hungarian prime minister, who despises political correctness, said European “cosmopolitan” leaders were out of touch with their constituencies whose majority was inclined to national feelings.

He warned European leaders to base their policies on reality, otherwise they were destined for failure.

“Let go of illusions, ideology and mirage dreams,” he said in a message to European leaders, saying western European countries had not managed to integrate the migrants who had come over the last decades.

‘Brussels must be stopped’

"Brussels must be stopped," Orban vowed Sunday, saying Hungary would fight the mandatory relocation quota scheme, which he said would be on the agenda at the March EU summit.

“We can't allow them to force us ... to import the bitter fruits of their mistaken immigration policies. We don't want to and won't import crime, terrorism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism into Hungary,” he said.

“There will be no lawless districts in Hungarian cities. There will be no riots, no refugee camps set on fire and no gangs will hunt for our wives and daughters," he said, in reference to a number of recent social disturbances in Europe, including attacks on refugee centres and alleged mass sexual harassment by migrants in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

He said the EU had two camps: the unionists, who believed in a United States of Europe and mandatory relocation quotas, and "sovereignist", who saw Europe as a coalition of free nations and rejected the scheme. “This could break the alliance of Europe’s peoples,” he said.

Orban called an earlier decision by the EU to distribute 120,000 refugees across the bloc “unfortunate, unreasonable, unjust, and illegal,” saying it was made by bypassing national sovereignty.

Orban said recent threats to cut funding for eastern Europeans if they did not take in migrants were blackmail, and argued that western European companies had taken from these countries as much in profit as that which the EU had sent in funds.

“We do not owe each other anything,” Orban said.

Orban called for a referendum last week in a bid to summon the Hungarian people against a mandatory relocation scheme.

Hungary to hold referendum on EU migration plan

Hungary's government has initiated a referendum on the EU's migrants quota plan, PM Viktor Orban said Wednesday. Hungary, along with Slovakia, has already challenged the plan at the EU's top court.

Analysis

Orban 'vindicated' by EU refugee crisis

Hungary's Viktor Orban feels vindicated by a shift to the right in EU migration politics, but more populism and razor-wire fences could pose "a challenge" for the Union.

Helmut Kohl backs Orban's line on migration

Hungary's PM met the former German chancellor in his home. They said they agreed with Merkel's humanitarian stand but warned Europe could take only "a minority" of refugees.

Libya return demand triggers reintegration headaches

The UN migration agency (IOM) had planned to help return and reintegrate 5,000 people from Libya to their home countries, but ended up aiding 20,000 in 2017. The extra demand has piled on the pressure.

Frontex naval operation to look for 'foreign fighters'

The EU border and coast guard agency, or Frontex, has launched a new naval operation called Themis. The operation replaces its surveillance Triton mission but with a bigger emphasis on security and intelligence gathering.

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