Hungary continues to be committed to protecting its borders, continues to insist on the provisions of the Schengen Agreement, and will enforce the Agreement, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated in Brussels before he had talks on the migrant crisis with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

Mr. Orbán said that it “is not an option for any country”, as the Schengen Agreement states that the Schengen borders can only be crossed at border crossing stations. Therefore, Hungary cannot allow anyone to cross the Schengen borders contrary to the terms of the Schengen Agreement. He pointed out that Hungary insists on the provisions of the Schengen Agreement, and will enforce them.

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Mr. Orbán said that he wanted to speak out on behalf of the peoples of Europe, who “are full of fear, and … are not satisfied at all” with what European leaders have been doing. He added that the protection of the borders “is a question of will, and if there is a will, there is a way – and we have to find it”.

The Hungarian prime minister remarked that many people criticise the border fence which has been erected in Hungary, but when European leaders are asked how else it is possible to control a border section of 175 kilometres and to enforce the provisions of the Schengen Agreement without creating a physical obstacle, “nobody up to now was able to give any good advice to me”.

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Mr. Orbán pointed out that the Hungarian parliament is currently debating a new legislative package which will create a new situation on the borders, will permit more stringent control, and may alleviate the fears in the hearts of the people of Hungary and Europe. The Prime Minister stressed that the Hungarian authorities are not only protecting the Hungarian border, but also the external borders of Europe.

At the press conference Mr. Tusk said: “Not everyone is a fan of the controversial solutions proposed by Prime Minister Orbán, and I can understand why. However, one thing is clear: Prime Minister Orbán took action to strengthen the protection of the EU borders.”

Mr. Tusk took the view that, in the light of the increasing number of asylum seekers, Europe must do more to tackle the migrant crisis. He said that everyone recognises that EU Member States will not change their immigration policies overnight, but everyone must understand that the approach to the crisis is a question of the expression of European solidarity. He said that those countries not directly affected by the migrant crisis which have in the past benefited from EU solidarity must show that same solidarity to those who need it now.

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"It is truly a paradox that the biggest countries in Europe – like Germany and Italy – need our solidarity; so does Hungary”, Mr. Tusk said, adding that we must deal seriously with the issue of containing the wave of migrants – primarily through reinforcing our borders.

Mr. Tusk took the view that solidarity and the containment of the migrant wave must not be mutually exclusive. He said “It would be unforgivable if Europe split into advocates of containment … and advocates of full openness … as the policy of open doors and windows”.

“Therefore I call on all EU leaders to redouble their efforts when it comes to solidarity with the Members who face this unprecedented migratory wave”, Mr. Tusk said. He called upon Member States to recognise the need for “fair distribution of at least one hundred thousand refugees”. He warned that if solidarity remains an empty slogan, it will be replaced by political blackmail, divisions, and “a new blame game”.

The Polish President of the European Council said that reception stations – where the asylum applications are assessed – must be moved closer to the conflict areas, while the countries neighbouring danger zones – such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon – must provide protection against the threats. He found it important that all institutions and organisations which are dealing with the management of the migrant flow should be given substantially greater financial support by Europe.

Mr. Tusk responded to the guest commentary written by Viktor Orbán in Thursday’s edition of the conservative German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), and touched upon Europe’s Christian values in connection with the migrant crisis. He pointed out that Christians are required to help those who are suffering. Mr. Tusk said that “In a public debate on migration, (Christianity) must mean in the first place the readiness to show solidarity and sacrifice. For a Christian, it shouldn’t matter what race, religion and nationality the person in need represents”.

(Prime Minister's Office/MTI)