English translation of the article published on Saturday by BILD Zeitung Darum baut Ungarn einen Zaun gegen Flüchtlinge

BILD: Prime Minister, what did you feel when you saw the photo of the dead little boy on the beach in Kos? (sic)

It was a shocking experience; all loss of human life is a tragedy. But I also thought about the boy’s parents: they set off from a safe refugee camp outside Syria and risked both their own lives and the lives of their children. We must make it clear to them that we cannot assume responsibility for the dangers that await them on the trip to Europe. For this reason, it would be better if they didn’t come.

Do you have sympathy for the refugees?

Of course I do, all Christians feel sympathy for them. But this sympathy is not enough. We must act.

But you say that the refugee crisis is a “German problem” – What is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mistake, do you think?

The German Chancellor always does everything right – this is the first paragraph of the Hungarian constitution. (Laughter) But we must have a serious talk about the consequences of the German decision allowing migrants to enter Germany. That statement caused a revolt in Hungary. Migrants broke out of their places of accommodation and attacked the police. They refused to be registered as laid down in EU law. Previously, our authorities had been keeping the situation under control – albeit with great difficulty. But then the German government announced that it would be “temporarily” suspending EU regulations, and chaos broke out in Hungary. This is what happens when rules are not followed.

Hungary didn’t bother about the rules so much in 1989. Thousands of East German citizens were allowed to cross the border into Austria and the Iron Curtain fell. Why isn’t that possible today?

There is an important difference: the refugees from East Germany were not in Hungary illegally; there was no question that they were being provided with official accommodation at the West German Embassy. They were being cared for there, and they waited. They did not totally disregard Hungarian law. After that the Hungarians opened their own border. Today, it is illegal immigrants who are breaking across our borders. The fence of communism was directed against us. The fence we are currently constructing is meant to serve us.

How do you feel as Europe’s leading villain? Do you still want to oppose the rest of the continent?

All I can say is that “Here I stand; I can do no other”. We Hungarians are Europeans, and we have signed a contract with Europe which means that we must guarantee that European citizens can move freely and that our borders are secure. This is what we have stuck to throughout. Those people now coming to Hungary are being doubly tricked: on the one hand by human traffickers, and on the other by certain European politicians. Both are promising them a better life, and that they will be able to stay here – even when there is once again peace in their country of origin. But they will see that the honey that flows in Germany is a little less sweet than they had hoped. They will also realise that their standard of living depends on their performance, and not on the demands they make.

Have you seen the squalor at Budapest’s Keleti Station personally?

I have been there, but I didn’t go into the station itself.

A selfie with refugees like the one Chancellor Merkel recently took at a refugee centre in Berlin would perhaps be impossible there?

Yes, well, I’m probably not a favourite among the immigrants, but I don’t judge my policies according to the exposure time of a photograph either.

Would you take in a family of refugees?

Yes, if it didn’t encourage other refugees to come here to Europe. That wouldn’t be a good idea today. My wife and children are taking action, and are committed to help, however.

Hungary’s borders will be closed next Tuesday. Where should all the refugees go?


Back to where?

To where they came from. Because these migrants have not arrived in Hungary directly from war zones, but from refugee camps in countries bordering Syria: from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. They were safe there. So these people are not fleeing danger – they have already fled successfully from that – and have no need to worry for their safety any more. These people are not coming to Europe because they seek safety, but because they want a better life than that in the refugee camps. They want to live a German life, or perhaps a Swedish life. The standard of living they could have in Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary or Austria is not enough for them. On a personal level I can understand that, but the fact is that there is no fundamental right to a better life, only to safety and human dignity.

Nevertheless, many European heads of government want to accept immigrants…

Europe’s leading politicians are currently living in a dream world. They have no idea of the actual dangers that immigrants mean to us. Nor about the magnitude of the problem, because we are talking about millions and millions of people. There is an endless supply – from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Ethiopia, Nigeria. If we let them all in, Europe will be in ruins.

So what should Europe do?

We have a plan, which we will present to Europe’s other heads of government at our next meeting. Part of the plan includes providing massive funding to countries bordering Syria. These include Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Turkey itself is performing exceptionally well with regard to the refugee crisis. We in Europe should in fact hold a Mass for President Erdogan every week, regardless of whatever political viewpoints there are. We must not abandon states like Turkey, and we must not be miserly.

What does this mean, exactly?

I recommend that every Member State contributes an extra one per cent to the EU budget. Parallel with this, expenditure on other goals should be reduced by one per cent. This would generate a total of some 3 billion euros, with which we can provide financial support to the countries neighbouring Syria. And if we require more money, we can increase aid until the flow of immigrants subsides. Since a rapid solution is required, this is a process which would prevent us from arguing indefinitely about budget-related issues.

What about the refugees who are already here in Europe?

We mustn’t fool ourselves. None of them want to go home. They will all remain here, I’m afraid.

What is your opinion about the idea that these people who are already here in Europe should be distributed among the countries of the European Union according to a quota system?

There are two arguments against this. Firstly, refugee quotas only make sense if borders are secure. Until then, no government can have any idea about how many people need to be distributed, because their numbers will be constantly increasing. And secondly: can we really prevent migrants from travelling to where they want to go? Should we chain them up in Europe’s capitals, so they don’t go back to Germany? Who can really keep them in Estonia, Slovenia or Portugal, if they want to go to Germany? It's an illusion to think they won't.

Will you continue to stand by your “no” vote on quotas, even if the European Union threatens a fine or the introduction of sanctions?

My confident opinion is that nobody has ever been punished for upholding EU law. Instead of trying to find a solution in quotas, Brussels should be putting more pressure on Greece, because for years now the European Union’s external borders haven’t been protected there. If Greece had been fulfilling its obligations, this whole immigration crisis wouldn’t exist – not in Berlin, or in Budapest. But ultimately this is what makes us European: we would like to be decent people, both towards the poor Greeks, and towards the multitude of refugees. Except we do not want to face the consequences.

Does one of the dangers you are warning about include “Islamisation”?

I personally have great respect for Islam. Without Islamic philosophy, part of the world would have fallen prey to barbarism centuries ago. But once again, we mustn’t fool ourselves: immigration would lead to a majority Muslim population in Europe within the foreseeable future. If Europe allows cultures to compete, then the Christians will find themselves on the losing side. These are facts. The only way out for those who want to preserve Europe as a Christian culture is not to allow more and more Muslims into Europe. But this is something that Europe’s leading politicians are unwilling to talk about.

Do you believe there is a chance of putting an end to the cause of the refugee crisis: the civil war in Syria?

The West is just as much party to the outbreak of the war as is the Arab world and other states. We will only succeed in finding a solution to the conflict if all parties involved are determined to put a stop to this war’s barbarism. This alliance primarily requires the “big boys” (i.e. the United States and Russia) to come to a compromise. But Europe, the Arab states and China will have their own opinions too.

The original German version of the article is available here.

(Prime Minister's Office)