What is at stake in next week’s Brussels summit of EU leaders is whether EU Member States have the authority to decide themselves whether they wish to become immigrant countries or not, the Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office said on Inforadio’s programme Arena.

According to Szabolcs Takács, the Stop Soros legislative package is about the ability to stop all those organisations which seek to enhance processes of migration which are contrary to Hungary’s national interests. The right to migration is not a fundamental human right, and the refugee issue cannot be muddled together with the situation of economic migrants even if some make conscious efforts to do just that. Hungary therefore welcomes the development that at the end-of-June summit of EU heads of state and government a proposal may be adopted which recommends that reception centres should be created outside the territory of the EU where migrants can be categorised according to their eligibility as war refugees and economic migrants.

The Minister of State underlined that refugees must be granted asylum in the first safe country, and if they decide to move on in the direction of Europe, their status changes and they must be regarded as economic migrants as their lives are no longer in danger at that point. From then on there is no statutory obligation for the Member States of the European Union to take these people in: any such decision can only be made on the basis of their own sovereign will.

Evaluating the current political situation in Europe, Mr Takács highlighted the fundamental problem is that the European Commission re-defined itself as a political body and created institutional chaos by having invited a group of Member States to a migration mini-summit in Brussels on 24 June, just four days before the scheduled meeting of the European Council. Due to this circumstance, the Prime Ministers of the Visegrád countries made it clear that they would not attend the event, and that they regard the European Council exclusively as a legitimate forum attended by all Member States for discussing issues related to migration.

The Western half of Europe has realised only now, three years after the eruption of the migration crisis, that mass immigration is not a short-term humanitarian problem, but a process which would fundamentally change the ethnic and cultural map of our continent. According to the Minister of State, the operation, philosophy, approach and political role of the European Commission which was formed in 2014 have greatly contributed to the fact that we have failed to defend the European Union’s external borders which has resulted in serious security and cultural implications for several Member States. The September 2015 quota decision was a flawed political decision, with the wrong approach and wrong emphases. We have had the opportunity to observe since that the mandatory distribution mechanism is unworkable, and has also failed in a political sense. Another grave mistake the Commission made was that they forced the federalist approach to such a degree that it finally led to the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU.

Speaking about the role of the Central European region, Mr Takács highlighted that the Visegrád countries are growing faster economically than the rest of Europe, and they are characterised by a state of political stability. The close alliance of the V4 is based on mutual respect and a sincere dialogue both among the members and with other EU countries. The great ambition and vision of the coming years is to build a strong and successful Central Europe within the European Union whose political and geographical framework points beyond the four Visegrád countries. According to the Minister of State, conditions for cooperation with the new Austrian government are also excellent, and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s visit to Budapest on 21 June strengthened the prospects of this cooperation. Regarding EU funds channelled to Central Europe, Mr Takács pointed out that western countries, too, profit from these grants significantly, and cohesion funds can also be regarded by net contributors as a good investment, the Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office underlined.

(Prime Minister’s Office)