Prior to a meeting of EU heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that “The concept of establishing refugee camps outside the territory of the European Union is gradually gaining a majority within the EU”.
In reply to a question from the press, the Prime Minister said that as yet this is not the majority view, but he feels that events are moving in that direction.
With regard to the whole migrant issue, he said that it can be seen that “the positions which were once condemned, despised, looked down upon and treated with contempt are becoming jointly-held positions. And people who stand up for these positions are today being welcomed as equal partners”.
Mr. Orbán added that in his opinion progress could be made in relation to the Hungarian proposal on migrants rescued at sea being transported back to their places of departure, adding that this “could point in the direction of common sense”.
The Prime Minister said that while earlier the council of heads of government was “only prepared to talk about the humanitarian conditions under which refugees could be let in”, and the protection of the EU’s external borders was a “taboo” subject, the latter has now become an acknowledged task.
On the subject of quotas aimed at distributing migrants, Mr. Orbán declared that this is a point on which he will not give in, as what German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants is something which the Hungarian people do not want.
He stressed the undesirability of distributing throughout Europe people who had been allowed into Europe in huge numbers, “most of whom are now obviously economic migrants”. Such distribution, he said, is now being proposed by those who let them in “to give everyone a share of the problem”, he explained. However, this is not just about desirability, he said, because in the referendum in October, 3.3 million people declared that “there can be no question of anyone having the power to decide who will live in Hungary, other than Hungary itself”.
Mr. Orbán also told reporters that there is another matter which is “currently creeping onto the agenda”, and this is “their attempt to prohibit our policy of capping charges for household utilities”. The European Union wants to introduce new regulations which would “prohibit countries from centrally fixing the energy prices for any group of consumers”. He added that “This has a great effect on people – the poor more than the well-off. This is a matter of honour, we must persevere on this, and we’ll not yield an inch”.
At his press conference the Prime Minister also mentioned the issue of visa-free travel for Ukrainians, stating that “The policy we are currently pursuing on this matter – that, while the Ukrainians have met all the conditions, we still won’t grant them visa-free travel – is morally untenable”.