Hungary has repeatedly made it clear that it does not wish to become an immigrant country; it insists on the right of citizens of the EU to designate the new directions for the EU’s migration policy on the occasion of the EP elections due to be held in May, Szabolcs Takács, Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office told Hungarian journalists by telephone after the meeting of the General Affairs Council on Tuesday.

After the meeting of EU minister of general European affairs of EU Member States, the Minister of State highlighted that Hungary does not wish to create a multicultural society – similar to that which has developed in Western Europe – in Central Europe and in Hungary.

At the EP elections due to be held in May, the people will have the opportunity to determine whether anti-immigration forces will become stronger or weaker. Hungary takes the view that in a changing European Union the management of migration will be the most important issue.

The Minister of State drew attention to the fact that the Hungarian government is being attacked not only by the Hungarian opposition, but also by pro-immigration countries and politicians throughout Europe.

With reference to the Hungarian opposition demonstration scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Brussels, the Minister of State said “those who belong together have finally combined forces; the cat has been let out of the bag”. It is no mere coincidence that Dutch green party MEP Judith Sargentini will also attend the demonstration. The reason why she will be attending is that Hungary continues to stand firmly against immigration, he said. It is also clear that the idea of the distribution of migrants among Member States on the basis of quotas has not been removed from the agenda, he added.

“Demographic, security policy and climate change processes indicate that ever further waves of immigration will reach Europe continuously. We can only stop these waves of immigration by managing the process outside Europe, through the protection of our borders and cooperation with countries outside the EU”, he said.

Regarding the seven-year EU budget which will be effective from 2021, Mr Takács said before the final approval of the budget planned to take place in the autumn of 2019 the draft will have to be amended significantly on a number of points as the countries of the Central and Eastern European region – which support cohesion – believe that the current framework for negotiations is not balanced. He underlined that Hungary perceives the unjustified reduction of cohesion funds and agricultural subsidies as a disproportionate and discriminatory measure. Under the disguise of the reduction of cohesion funds, the EU is seeking to attack countries which have refused to cooperate in its immigration policy, he pointed out.

“It is unacceptable that while the old Member States would receive 95 per cent of the Horizon Europe EU funds intended for innovation, a mere 5 per cent would be assigned to new Member States which joined the EU after 2004. Based on the position of the Hungarian government, we must follow the principle that no overall agreement can be reached until the parties agree on all outstanding issues”, he said.

He pointed out that tying the criterion of rule of law to cohesion funds is a politically motivated proposition which does not comply with the Treaties of the EU. There are no genuine arguments to support such a stance, and Hungary therefore sees it as political punishment, he highlighted.

He finally said Hungary expects the six-month Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union which began in January to take into consideration the interests and opinions of Hungary and the Visegrád countries with sufficient weight during the negotiations on the budget. Hungary supports all aspirations of the Romanian presidency which seek to create a safer and more competitive European Union, the Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office underlined.