Hungarian PM vows to continue battle with EU over migration
Hungary Hungarian PM vows to continue battle with EU over migration
Defiant Viktor OrbÃ¡n said he will resist centralised control and pro-migration policies
Hungary has said it will resist any EU-wide attempt to strip it of its right to protect its borders and will fight to overturn the pro-migration policies of the centre-right grouping to which it belongs in the European parliament.
The prime minister, Viktor OrbÃ¡n, was isolated last week when a majority of MEPs from the European Peopleâs Party (EPP) grouping helped form the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to start a sanctions procedure against Hungary for repeatedly breaching EU laws. The procedure could result in fines or a loss of voting rights.
In an address to the Hungarian parliament OrbÃ¡n claimed that a proposal for a 10,000-strong EU border force, which will be discussed at a summit in Salzburg this week, was an attempt to strip nation states of their right to defend their borders.
OrbÃ¡nâs chief spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, went further, saying Hungary would resist any EU-wide migration reform that was proposed before European parliament elections in May.
Many EU countries were still determined to meet their labour market needs by allowing hundreds of thousands of people into Europe every year, Kovacs said, adding that âa pro-migration globalist political eliteâ was trying to shut down options for aft er the European parliament elections. âWe should not decide on EU-wide migration issues at an EU level until after the elections,â he said.
On Sunday Michael Gove, the UK environment minister, refused to criticise Hungaryâs illiberal leader and his countryâs hardline migration policies, hinting in a BBC interview that the UK needed Hungaryâs support as part of the Brexit process.
Conservative MEPs drew fierce criticism last week when they voted against disciplinary proceedings against Hungary for breaching EU values on migration, media freedom and judicial independence.
However, in a blow to OrbÃ¡n, the Austrian president, Sebastian Kurz, and the leader of the European Peopleâs Party group, Manfred Weber, deserted Hungary on the vote. Weber, eager to prevent the EPP from splitting, called on EU leaders at the weekend to discuss the Hungary crisis at their informal summit in Salzburg this week, a move welcomed by Kovacs.
Kovacs said OrbÃ¡n woul d resist any efforts in Salzburg to change the EUâs immigration and asylum laws until after European parliament elections in May, when it is expected that more anti-migration MEPs will be elected.
âThe global elite still believe it is in the westâs interest to permit hundreds of thousands of migrants every year,â Kovacs said. âIt is impossible that we have to follow the French or Germans.â
A plan by the European commission, the EUâs executive body, for a 10,000-strong EU border force to police Europeâs borders would weaken national sovereignty and the right of nation states to police their own borders, Kovacs said. âThe commission plan is not going to happen,â he added.
Kovacs admitted the loss of support from within the EPP had not been a âpleasant experienceâ but said it showed âthat pro-migration policies are not simply a leftist liberal agendaâ.
Although more than half the EPP group voted to discipline Hungary, he said the relatively narrow majority within the EPP explained why OrbÃ¡nâs party, Fidesz, wanted to stay in the group and bring about policy changes.
He predicted that the composition of theEuropean parliament âwill look very different after the electionsâ. Some EPP members want to expel Fidesz, saying it has more in common with far-right populist parties than the EPPâs Christian Democrat tradition.Topics
- Viktor OrbÃ¡n
- European Union
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