German daily Bild published an interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Saturday under the title “Why Hungary is building a fence”. Mr. Orbán said it was natural to feel sympathy towards the migrants, but also said that sympathy is not enough. “We must act”, he declared.

In reply to a question concerning what the Prime Minister felt when he saw the photograph of the dead little boy lying on the beach, Mr. Orbán said it was a shocking experience; all loss of human life is a tragedy. However, the Prime Minister also had thoughts concerning the child’s parents, who set off from a safe refugee camp outside Syria and risked both their own lives and those of their children. “We cannot assume responsibility” for the dangerous nature of the trip, so it “would be better if people didn’t set off for Europe”, he added. The German decision to allow migrants into Germany caused a “revolt” in Hungary, he said in reply to a question regarding to what extent the immigration crisis can be regarded as a German problem.

The Hungarian authorities had been keeping the situation under control, but when Berlin announced that it would temporarily suspend EU regulations and allow everyone in, chaos erupted, he said. “This is what happens when rules aren’t followed”, he added. With reference to Hungary’s opening its borders in 1989, Mr. Orbán pointed out that the East German refugees were not in Hungary illegally and “didn’t totally ignore Hungarian laws”, and the Hungarians opened the country’s borders to allow them through voluntarily. But now “foreigners are breaking through our borders”, the Prime Minister said, stressing that “the fence of Communism was directed against us”, but “the fence that we are now constructing is meant to serve us”. “All I can say is: This is where I stand and I cannot act differently”, he said in reply to a question concerning what it felt like to play the role of Europe’s leading villain.

The Hungarians are guaranteeing that “Europeans can move freely and that our borders are protected”, he declared. Mr. Orbán went on to explain that migrants are being tricked by human traffickers and EU politicians alike, all of whom promise that they will have a better life and can stay even when there is peace in their countries of origin, but they soon realise that “the honey that flows in Germany is a little less sweet than they had hoped” and the standard of living is determined by performance, not by demand.

In reply to a question concerning whether he had personally seen the squalor at Budapest’s Keleti Station, he said he had been there but hadn’t entered the station. “I’m probably not the favourite of the immigrants, but I don’t measure my politics according to a photo’s time horizon either”, he said in reaction to a question concerning whether it would be possible to take a selfie like the one German Chancellor Angela Merkel had posted with refugees.

The Hungarian Prime Minister would be prepared to personally take in a family of refugees “if it didn’t encourage migrants to come to Europe”. In reply to a question concerning where all the migrants should go after Hungary’s southern border is closed on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said “back where they came from”, explaining that we are not talking about people who have arrived at the border directly from war zones; they aren’t fleeing danger and haven’t come to Europe in search of safety, but because they want a better, perhaps German of Swedish life. But “there is no fundamental right to a better life, only to safety and human dignity”, the Prime Minister underlined. Europe’s leaders are “currently living in a dream world” and “have no idea” about the dangers, because “there is an endless supply of new immigrants” and “if we allow everyone in, Europe will be destroyed”.

To counter this, the Prime Minister has a plan, which he will present at the next EU summit. The plan includes significant financial assistance for countries bordering Syria. Turkey is performing exceptionally well in face of the migration crisis, the Prime Minister said, noting that a mass should be held every week for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We cannot betray states like Turkey, and we cannot be tight-fisted”. EU contributions should be increased by one percent and other joint expenditure cut by one percent, and the funds generated could be spent on providing financial support to states that border Syria, he added. If more money is required “we can increase aid until the flow of migrants subsides”, Mr. Orbán explained.

With reference to migrants already in Europe, he said “none of them want to go back, they’ll all stay, I’m afraid”. According to the Prime Minister, refugee quotas only make sense if borders are secure, otherwise we cannot know how many people need to be distributed. And the idea that people who are placed in Estonia or Portugal according to quotas will stay where they are is an “illusion” if they want to go to Germany. “Nobody has ever been punished for upholding EU law”, he said in reply to a question concerning whether he would continue to reject the idea of quotas if threatened with sanctions by the EU.

“Brussels would do better to put more pressure on Greece, which has not been protecting the EU’s external borders for years now”, he added, stressing that “the whole immigrant crisis wouldn’t exist if Greece was fulfilling its commitments”. With regard to the danger of Islamisation, he stressed that he respects the Islamic religion, but immigration will lead to a majority Muslim population in Europe within the foreseeable future, and if Europe “allows religions to compete, the Christians will lose”.

These are the facts, in the Prime Minister’s view and “the only way out” for those who want to preserve Europe as a Christian culture is not to allow more and more Muslims into Europe. With reference to the chances of ending the civil war in Syria, which caused the immigration crisis, Mr. Orbán highlighted the fact that solving the conflict requires an alliance, a prerequisite of which is that the United States and Russia must reach a compromise.

The full English translation of the interview is available here.

(Prime Minister's Office)