In Brussels on Monday Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács told an international press conference that European migration policy must be revised, since the EU is currently defenceless. It is not enough to manage illegal migration, Mr. Kovács said: it must be stopped.

Regarding the migration crisis, he told journalists that in Hungary’s opinion the only and most effective solution would be to stop illegal migration before migrants arrive in EU territories or at the Schengen borders. This is what the Schengen 2.0 action plan proposed by the Hungarian prime minister envisages: it emphasises the importance of protecting the EU borders and controlling migrants outside the borders of the EU, Mr. Kovács pointed out.

This could only be achieved with the cooperation of external partner states. Relations must be strengthened with Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and North African countries in order to halt illegal migration. The number of people wishing to come to Europe has not decreased substantially, yet the migration pressure on Europe has eased. This cannot be attributed to common European solutions or the EU-Turkey deal, however, but to the individual migration policy of certain Member States and the Western Balkan states, Mr. Kovács added.

Regarding the issue of how the migration crisis should be resolved, Hungary takes the view that there is a clear dividing line between those EU Member States which have complied with current agreements and regulations, and those which have not. “Results can be achieved by complying with effective regulations”, Mr. Kovács said. Regarding the process of taking back migrants under the Dublin Regulation, he said that Hungary will not take back any migrants who have crossed its territory earlier, since Hungary has never breached either the Dublin Regulation or the Schengen Agreement, but has complied with their provisions.

Mr. Kovács said that it is physically impossible to enter the territory of the EU without crossing another EU country before one arrives at Hungary’s border. Hungary cannot take over responsibility from those countries which have failed to comply with the provisions of the agreements, and which have failed to check or identify those arriving in their countries and crossing them. Also, we cannot take over responsibility from those counties which have invited in migrants or helped them to travel within the EU, Mr. Kovács said.

He labelled as absurd the European Commission proposal submitted in early May which would demand that those Member States unwilling to take part in the reallocation of migrants under the “fairness mechanism”, will have to make a “solidarity contribution” of €250,000 (around HUF 77.7 million) for each asylum applicant which they refuse to accept. Mr. Kovács informed journalists that this sum is more than a Hungarian engineer or teacher could earn during their entire life.

The system of distributing migrants among Member States based on quotas within a bad migration policy is a misinterpretation of solidarity. Obliging a Member State to pay such an amount of money without prior consultation is an unacceptable penalty, he added. In response to a question on the closure of the Hungarian green border, he said that this has never meant the total closure of borders. There is the possibility to enter the country legally, the fence only serves as a means of halting those trying to cross the border illegally, and it will remain there for as long as there are such attempts. 

He further added that, just as in other European countries, migrants have arrived in Hungary from some one hundred countries. Mr. Kovács pointed out that this means people have set off for Europe from half of the world’s countries, showing that this is not just a migrant crisis but a wide-scale migrant problem; the two phenomena should be addressed differently.