At his press conference held after the two-day summit of the European Council in Brussels, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that European Union heads of state and government have declared that the external borders of Europe must be protected, the mass movement of migrants must be halted, and everyone must fully observe the terms of the Schengen Agreement.

Regarding the issue of migration, the Hungarian position has been clear throughout: controls, identification, interception and turning back – precisely as laid down in the Schengen Agreement.

This is a difficult and costly task, Mr. Orbán said, but as far as the protection of Hungary is concerned it has been a successful policy.

Regarding the issue of migration, the Hungarian position has been clear throughout: controls, identification, interception and turning back
Photo: Balázs Szecsődi/Prime Minister’s Press Office

Mr. Orbán takes the view that “At this point in time Europe is where it should have been at least one year ago”. The countries on the Balkan route and Austria have set out on the path of common sense, because what these states are now doing is the Hungarian solution: they are building fences, stopping migrants and sending them back, he said. He remarked that in his view the southern borders of Europe can only be protected in this manner, in accordance with the concepts and decisions jointly prepared and represented by the Visegrád Four.

In the West the situation is deteriorating: several countries are continuing to represent the position that migrants should be allowed into the territory of the EU and should be distributed among the Member States on a mandatory basis, using legislative measures, the Prime Minister said; he added that at the summit the voices of those arguing for this position were extremely loud. Mr. Orbán said that preventing this and taking action against this will be the task for the next few weeks, and this will also be the focus of the next EU summit, which has been brought forward to March.

We have achieved the goals we set

Mr. Orbán said that we have protected the most important European principle: that not a single EU citizen may be discriminated against. The Visegrád countries jointly prepared for, jointly represented and jointly achieved the results attained in connection with Britain’s demands.

We have protected the most important European principle: that not a single EU citizen may be discriminated against
Photo: Balázs Szecsődi/Prime Minister’s Press Office

In the context of the negotiations on the UK government’s reform demands, Mr. Orbán said that the British had requested no less than that the EU should change its current policy on a number of issues. “The British wanted us to strengthen the European Union”, the Prime Minister said. Strengthening means enhanced competitiveness. The British achievement has been to see that the EU takes a more proactive stance on the world economic scene –something which is important for the future of Europe, with or without the United Kingdom, he added.

In the debate on the issue of social regulations, the Prime Minister considered it a major success on the part of the 28 EU Member States that freedom of movement for workers continues to be upheld throughout Europe, including in Britain. It is a joint achievement that the freedom of movement for workers cannot be prevented on any grounds, Mr. Orbán stated.

The success of the negotiations is underlined by the fact that Hungarian workers will continue to have access to benefits, free from discrimination. Thanks to the results achieved at the negotiations, they will continue to be eligible for everything that they have paid for to date. The regulations on foreign workers have also remained unalterable, he stressed. For those who have taken up employment in Britain and who have families, the negotiating parties have succeeded in ensuring that if their children live in another EU Member State they should be eligible for social benefits adjusted to the standard of living of the country of origin.

Families whose children live in the United Kingdom will be eligible for all benefits that are available to children in British families. “We have done everything we could; the decision now lies with the British”, the Prime Minister said, referring to the referendum to be held on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU.

{Source: Government of Hungary – Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister}

[photo credits-featured image: Syrian refugees strike at the platform of Budapest Keleti railway station  By Mstyslav Chernov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

[intext photos: photos of  migrants in Hungary inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]

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