Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács responded to an article published in Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times in a blog post.

The article by the liberal American daily states, amongst others, that Hungary’s brutal treatment of refugees has reached a new low after Parliament voted to allow the mass detainment of asylum-seekers last Tuesday, counter to the recommendation of the European Union. “At what point will the union have the courage to take action against Viktor Orbán’s policies?”, the paper asks.

Continuing this train of thought, in his response Zoltán Kovács asks: “Do they mean, at what point will the union have the courage to take action against the government of Hungary for protecting the external border of Europe’s Schengen Area”?

That’s the real question, according to the Government Spokesperson. “And the answer is: they won’t because they see that it’s in the EU’s interest to protect the union’s external border”, he continued. “We’ll hear the usual howls from the liberal critics, but when reason prevails, Europeans understand that protecting the border must be a priority. And, by the way, it’s our obligation under the Schengen treaty”, Mr. Kovács writes.

According to the Spokesperson, if you don’t have borders, you don’t have a country. “The southern border of Hungary is essentially Europe’s border because it’s an external border of the Schengen Area. Once inside the Schengen Area, people can move freely across much of the European Union without any border stations or passport controls”, he explains.

“Much like in the United States, once you’re in, you’re in. That freedom of movement of people and goods is one of the most precious liberties that European citizens enjoy”, Mr. Kovács continues.

“The migrants attempting to break through that border illegally are well aware of that. That’s why they don’t stop in the first safe country they reach. They don’t stop to request asylum in Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, or Serbia because they’re not ‘inside’ Europe”, Mr. Kovács added, pointing out that Greece is technically part of Schengen but has no land borders with the rest of Schengen Europe.

“The Times editors in their ivory tower in New York assert that the Prime Minister is playing Europe for a patsy. Unfortunately, migrants – certainly not all, but many – have been gaming the system in Europe. Hundreds of thousands have crossed Europe’s Schengen border illegally. Sometimes they go through the motions of requesting asylum and are instructed to remain in a camp until their cases are decided. Many of them, though, don’t bother to wait and, abusing asylum rules and the open borders of the Schengen area, disappear somewhere into the European Union”, Mr. Kovács states in his reply.

“Austria and Germany, I can assure you, are not interested in seeing a repeat of the events of autumn 2015, when hundreds of thousands of undocumented, illegal immigrants flooded their countries, trampling on Europe’s Schengen and refugee rules”, he states.

“We know for a fact that the organizers and perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Berlin 2016 took advantage of Europe’s unprotected borders and lax asylum procedures”, he adds.

“Hungary will not apologize for making security a priority”, the Government Spokesperson’s response states.