„We are to face fierce debates” at EU level, but we must be able to win them in order to protect Hungary’s sovereignty, the Justice Minister stressed at a migration forum held in Budapest on Tuesday.

In his lecture entitled „Brussels’ goal: to restrict strong nation states”, László Trócsányi highlighted: determining the composition of a Member State’s population must be the sovereign right of the given State.

He reiterated in his lecture that Hungary identified accession to the European community as a goal after the change of regime. A number of signs indicate, however, that since our accession in 2004, a fault line has emerged within the EU, he pointed out. In the Minister’s view, these signs are, for instance, the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe which failed in 2005, the ever wider spread of Euroscepticism, and Brexit. At the same time, migration has created the most intensive conflict within the EU, Mr Trócsányi highlighted.

The politician took the view that three approaches have evolved with respect to migration in recent years. There are some who take a stance of resignation. Others believe that migration is a positive and desirable phenomenon: there were some in the European Parliament who even spoke up for migration and pointed out that they are also prepared to support migration financially. At the same time, there are a number of countries, including Hungary and several Central-Eastern-European countries, which perceive migration as a threat. Mr Trócsányi said: there are some who try to conceal the facts, but radicalism is perceivably on the increase, and the attack in Sweden last week, too, testified to this.

Mr Trócsányi pointed out: there is a debate at EU level regarding powers, and about who has the right to take a stance on fundamental issues concerning migration, despite the fact that, according to the current regulations, the Member States have the right to decide how many immigrants they wish to take in.

In this context, he highlighted as a fundamental problem that while the law makes a clear distinction, in political discourse the concepts of refugee and immigrant are deliberately mixed together. The procedures applicable to asylum-seekers are regulated by international agreements. It is, however, a sovereign right of the Member States to decide whether they wish to take in economic immigrants or not.

Mr Trócsányi highlighted: the EU has certain exclusive powers, such as the customs tariffs. There are divided powers. He said: Hungary laid down in the Fundamental Law which powers we surrender to the European Union. Additionally, the Treaties on the functioning of the EU, too, stipulate that the European Union must respect the national identities, territorial integrity, public order and public security of the Member States.

According to the Minister, the European Union believes „it occupies territories”, and that the Member States are „weak and lacking in intelligence”, and are as such unable to solve the problem. He remarked in this context that the EU Directives provide scope for manoeuvring for the Member States. There are some in the debate on migration who believe that Member State powers should be restricted, and this is the process we may observe in the latest EU regulations as well.

Mr Trócsányi further covered in his lecture the legislative process which is intended to manage the migration situation in Hungary. He mentioned as examples the legal rules on the state of crisis, the construction of the fence and the measures implemented with a view to countering people smuggling. He described the introduction of the legal border closure as a milestone, with which, in his view, a meaningful debate has been launched. The Minister took the view: we may expect fierce debates which may last for months, or even until the end of the year, but we may thereafter reach a state of calm.

Among the issues in dispute, the Minister said in the context of the quota lawsuit: they prepared a petition with sound legal arguments, and they also sought the positions of multiple foreign experts.

The Minister also highlighted that they expect equal treatment to be afforded by the institutions of the EU. He mentioned as an example the Strasbourg Court which ruled that Hungary restricted the two Bangladeshi men who were in the transit zone for 21 days in their personal freedom. The court, however, did not find fault with the fact that there were some who were required to stay in the transit zone in Belgium for four months. Hungary will appeal against the decision of the Strasbourg Court, the Minister highlighted.

At the conference György Bakondi, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor for internal security highlighted in his lecture the organised and controlled nature of illegal migration. People smugglers operate enormous networks, and make enormous profits. The number of violent acts and terrorist attacks which pose a threat to public security and national security is on the increase continuously. During the course of the attacks inflicted upon Europe in recent years, hundreds of people have been injured or killed now, he pointed out.

According to the chief advisor, the Hungarian measures and Hungary’s internal security are threatened by „hysterical political attacks” before international forums. Additionally, the long-term reinstatement of internal border controls compromises the controlling of the EU’s external border traffic. At the same time, Mr Bakondi also said that, with the completion of the second border fence at Hungary’s border and the resulting alleviation of the pressure of migration, live force border protection and the number of police and military officers serving at the border will be reduced in some regions according to plans.

At the event of the Századvég Foundation "The migration crisis and the influence of non-governmental organisations funded from abroad", Zsolt Barthel-Rúzsa, President of the Foundation pointed out in his welcome speech that non-governmental organisations funded from abroad which are erroneously referred to as „civil-society organisations” fundamentally determine public discourse and politics not only in Hungary, but also in Europe. This is also testified to by the hysterical atmosphere that has been induced in the context of the CEU.

Balázs Orbán, Research Director of the Századvég Foundation highlighted in his lecture entitled „The organised nature of irregular migration” that Hungary is good at destroying taboos, and we are now facing yet another one of these situations.

(Ministry of Justice/MTI)