|Author: Szilárd Koszticsák||Original title: Orbán: Senki ne követelje tőlünk, hogy sok muszlimmal éljünk együtt|
|Publication: vs.hu||Date: 13:24 07/09/2015|
Orbán: we shouldn’t be expected to live with many Muslims
Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, talking in front of Hungarian ambassadors on Monday, called the French and Austrian governments ’hypocrites’. He said that although ’fascist pigs’ are always isolated in Hungary and keep detonating bombs in France, it is always Hungary that’s blamed of fascism. Nobody has problems with the Muslim community in Hungary and everyone loves the kebab stands in the centre of Budapest, but he wouldn’t be happy to see their number increase.
On Monday, Viktor Orban stated his case on the refugee crisis at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economy, in front of Hungary’s ambassadors. His hour-and-a-half speech was a summary of his above given statements.
A late summer or early autumn meeting with the ambassadors of the country is a regular event, it serves to give them guidelines about the ways in which they should represent Hungary’s interests. The ambassadors are invited to ask questions at the end. The event is open for politicians of the opposition.
The French and Austrian liars
We live in a hypocrites’ world, and we Hungarians are several hundreds of years behind the others in hypocrisy – the Prime Minister said of the French and Austrian statements condemning the Hungarian government. The French Foreign Affairs establishment attacks Hungary for building a fence even as their own government formally opens one – he said, alluding to the situation in Calais. The Austrians complain about more refugees arriving to them than signaled by the Hungarian government, even though there are even more leaving the country towards Germany. “What they said turned out to be untrue, but they don’t seem to be bothered by this” –said Orbán.
He also told his audience how the Jewish Cultural Festival was held a few weeks ago in Kazinczy Street, in the centre of Budapest. There was no need to pass security gates to separate “fascist pigs” from the crowd. According to him, a festival like that could only be organized with heavy security in France, otherwise “they’d blow up the gates”. He called “playing the fascist card against Hungary” a “disgrace”. He finds it unbearable that they have to explain themselves constantly on this charge. As if a child had to prove every day at school it did not steal at the candy shop – he said.
Orbán also debated the German press’ right to criticise the government when refugee camps have been set afire in Germany in the past. “Have we ever said this was because deeds like that have a historical background there? No we didn’t, because it isn’t true.” Hungary is nevertheless constantly being accused with traditions leaning to the far right, he said.
In his opinion, the Polish, the Czech and the Slovaks traditionally react much more boldly to accusations like that, and this has historical reasons: the experiences of the Second World War and the communist era made Hungarians much more cautious. He asked the ambassadors to go to the utmost when reacting to such charges.
He also talked about the criticism arriving from several Western newspapers and member states for the inhumane way the migrants at Keleti were handled by Hungarian authorities, stating people cannot just sit down somewhere and expect provisions and health care to come to them. „This is absurd.” The police did their duty excellently, “they deserve every respect for having handled the situation without applying any force at all”.
A quota after all?
Mr. Orbán also criticized Western governments intervening in Libya and Syria, obviously without considering the masses of refugees their actions can generate. However, he admitted that Hungary was also a member of this international Western community. He censured the community for not listening to former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi who had a financial, economic agreement with Libya. As a part of this agreement, Libya guaranteed to spare Europe masses of refugees arriving from the country, in exchange for a certain amount of money, said Mr. Orbán.
He also pointed out that several countries were ready for the refugees, mentioning the USA, Australia, Israel, the Gulf states: these countries stated in advance they would not take any migrants. According to Mr. Orbán, there is only one player wholly without a plan, the EU. There is no European plan for handling the crisis – he said.
The only plan of the EU is to handle the consequences of the situation. This plan is the quota system, distributing the refugees proportionately among the member states. According to the Prime Minister, defending our borders should be a priority, and we should talk about the quotas later. The Hungarian standpoint does not rule out a later
discussion on the quota system, but there is no point until we need to defend our borders – he said. Experts could start discussing the issue, but the time has not yet come for a political debate on it. This was Mr. Orbán’s clearest allusion to a possible acceptance of the quota.
The Prime Minister suggested that the EU should initiate a fund in cooperation with other states affected by the crisis, for example Turkey, to fund handling the problem on site. This is necessary because once a refugee entered the European Union, sending them back involves a lot of conflicts and suffering, and also a lot more money. “Who would send hundreds of thousands, millions back, who would take that upon themselves?” – he asked.
Mr. Orbán went into great detail on the subject of Western Europe being divided on the refugee problem too, that the political elite have a standpoint differing strongly from that of the people’s. According to him, ’manipulated journalism’ helped to mask this discrepancy. “Nobody should come to me and say there is no manipulated journalism over there.” According to him, the structure of Western society allows that
“with the help of newspapers and TV channels, politics can be made without support from the people.”
„This is not possible in an underdeveloped democracy such as Hungary’s, we cannot lose sight of the people’s will” – he said.
He referred to the national consultation on migration, a controversial government questionnaire sent out to households earlier this year. He said the Hungarian government’s standpoint is steadfast on migration because they heard the opinions of one out of the eight million Hungarians during the consultation. This laid down the foundation of a solid governmental opinion on the question.
Good kebab stands
The Hungarian government has no business commenting on the French decision to live with a Muslim community making up 8-10% of the population. The Germans took the Turkish in.
“Due to Hungary’s special history, we live with a few hundred thousand Roma. This is what we have to live with, we don’t ask anyone to take over from us.”
But this means no one has the right to demand that Hungary accept a large Muslim community.
“We have no problems with the Islam, we are not about to criticize it” – he said. “We do not engage in arguments on the nature of Islam.” These arguments, he maintains, would harm the country’s relations with Islamic states like Turkey and the Gulf states. The government is also seeking to improve relations with Iran in the near future.
„We have nothing against the Muslim community in already living in the country, those living here are in a good place.” – We are happy to have kebab stands on the main roads of Budapest, and we are happy to buy our Easter lamb from them. Mr. Orbán values the Muslim community in Hungary, and wouldn’t want to put them in an uncomfortable position. He thinks there is no call to increase the community, the government does not want to let their numbers grow radically, because of some external pressure.
Orbán maintains they had done good deeds quietly, without shouting it from the rooftops, in the past few months. He said: “We gave citizenships to hundreds, to thousands of Christians, to Coptic Christians among others.”
What’s the PC word for this?
Mr. Orbán talked extensively about Hungary having to defend the outer borders of the EU, as per the Schengen treaty. Spain, France, Italy and Greece are in a similar position. According to the Schengen regulations, the borders may be crossed only at the designated checkpoints in official hours, a regulation of which the illegal migrants should also be warned of.
In his opinion, the rules cannot be constantly quoted and then overruled in certain situations. This would dismantle Schengen, and lead to the creation of other borders, further inwards. It would shake the trust among member states too: nobody would believe the borders can be kept safe anymore. He mentioned Greece as an example, where refugees are not registered, thus increasing the workload of Hungarian authorities. “Why don’t the Greeks do it? Because they can’t or because they won’t?” That was where trust started dwindling – he explained.
The Hungarian government wants to play by the rules but is incapable at the moment. He thinks it’s because there is no physical border between Serbia and Hungary, although that is about to change. “What’s the PC word again? Temporary closure?” – he said as if he couldn’t think of the right expression. “A fence in plain speech” – he added.
“There was no time to construct a full fence, so a high one and a quickly applicable one is being constructed. There is no guarantee it’s going to work with the soldiers deployed, but we do our best.”
Mr. Orbán talked about the emotional identification the refugees invoke, having walked many thousand kilometers on foot. But it has to be said clearly: “Don’t come!” Europe cannot take responsibility for what happens to you on the road. His message to the asylum seekers was: “Do not risk everything for an illusion! Do not come! You won’t make it across the border, do not risk your children’s lives!”
These people are not running to safety. “Those who made it to a Turkish camp, are safe, those in Greece are safe. Those running to Austria do not run for their lives.”
“These people set their sights on the German way of living.”
According to Orban this has nothing to do with safety, and therefore the Hungarian government does not see them as refugees. “Let us not allow our emotions to blind us and lead us to make bad decisions, because that would motivate more of them to set out” – he said to the ambassadors. He thinks it is better for them to stay in Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia. This is also why he didn’t refer to them as refugees, in the speech, he always used ‘migrants’.
He also referred to the private citizens taking on the costs of providing for the refugees, and that this is an economically useful activity. These costs cannot weigh on the state; that would stem growth and endanger welfare expenditures. People have to take responsibility and not the states, “because that would ruin Christian welfare states” – he said.
He started his speech with greeting János Martonyi, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zsolt Németh, chair of the foreign affairs committee of the Parliament, Katalin Szili commissioner of the Prime Minister, former socialist MP, and László Kovács, former Socialist Foreign affairs minister. “Anyone from Jobbik? Nobody came? Not a problem.” – joked the Prime Minister.
(Jobbik is the radical right-wing political parliamentary party in Hungary – trans.)