The Minister of Justice called the migration phenomenon “a true challenge for the whole world” at an international conference entitled Modern Migration: A Complex Approach to Migration organised by the Home Affairs Research Council on 9 November 2016.

In his opening speech, László Trócsányi said it was important to clarify the concepts of migrant, immigrant and refugee. He spoke about the fact that while refugee policy had already appeared in the 1900s and refugee-related law is fundamentally based on the Geneva Convention, member states are striving to keep immigration policy within their national spheres of competence, and there are diverse opinions on whether or not a migration policy actually exists.

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“It is in the fundamental interests of every country in the world to clarify the causes of migration and contribute to enabling everyone to live in their own homeland”, the Minister said, adding that “Problems should be handled in situ, and it is not a good solution for one or two continents to attempt to solve all of the world’s problems”.

Mr. Trócsányi recalled that according to data from the United Nations the number of people who were not living in their own homelands for some reason last year was 244 million, while in 2000 this number was 173 million.

“In this context, people who live and work in the UK and those who have arrived in Europe from another continents all count as migrants. 76 million of these 244 million people live in Europe. Two thirds of the migrants live in 20 countries, the most important receiving countries being the United States and Germany. In 2014, the global number of refugees was estimated at 19.5 million, which represents just 8 percent of migrants”, he explained.

The Minister listed war, persecution and climate change as causes of migration, but said the main reason was poverty in view of the fact that many people set out for this reason in the hope of a better living.

According to Mr. Trócsányi, solutions to migration can be political and legal. The former include refugee policy, immigration policy and migration policy.

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“While there are international regulations with regard to refugees, immigration must primarily remain within a national sphere of competence”, he highlighted and raised the question of whether migration policy exists at all and whether the relocation that the EU wants to introduce can be regarded as such or is just a solution to a problem.

Presenting the Hungarian standpoint, Mr. Trócsányi declared: “International obligations and international law must be observed”. “Hungary has abided by the Dublin Convention and has registered some two hundred thousand people, giving the competent authorities a huge task to perform”, he said.

“This cannot be said about every country in Europe”, he added. The Minister particularly stressed the importance of protecting the EU’s external borders and said that if the borders are not properly secured it could lead to the establishment of limitations between EU member states that would make it impossible to assure free movement.

Explaining the regulations he highlighted the fact that the refugee law we apply today was established in the 21st century and is based on the Geneva Convention, in addition to which everyone in the European Union must apply the Dublin Regulation and Hungary has a sophisticated set of regulations on aliens.

He said it was an important question whether member states should handle the issue of refugees and illegal aliens within a shared or central sphere of competence. The EU is moving towards regulation by decree, while directives that afforded member states a greater level of freedom used to be the norm. “The 28 member states have different historical traditions and it is impossible to provide a single solution to these issues in a technocratic manner”, he highlighted.

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Mr. Trócsányi also indicated that migration has a huge effect on society and raises questions with relation to public safety, national security and crime, and also with regard to economic, social and cultural issues.

“Migration is an interdisciplinary issue and responsibility for finding a solution is also divided”, he said. In addition to international organisations such as the United Nations, member states and even local municipalities and non-governmental organisations such as charities and churches also have a responsibility in this.

The Justice Minister said that scientific research was also important to enable dependable forecasts and uncover the possible effects of migration.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)