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Austrian border can be best protected at Hungarian-Serbian border

The Hungarian Prime Minister said after his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern held in Budapest on Tuesday that Hungary will make every effort during the period ahead to be the best possible neighbour and partner of Austria. Mr Orbán said at his press conference held jointly with the Austrian Chancellor that the first step has been taken towards the protection of the Hungarian-Serbian border by virtue of the fact that Austria is sending twenty people to protect the border. He added: Hungary asked Austria to explore the possibility of continued cooperation, and of upgrading this effort by increasing the number of personnel sent to the border by magnitudes.

The Hungarian Government said that as regards the issue of migration, the two countries are in different situations, and Hungary has a vested interest in the „flawless and verbatim” observance of international law. He stressed that Hungary takes back every migrant who first entered the EU in Hungary at the Austrian-Hungarian border in accordance with the international agreements, and immediately moves them on to where they came from. He added: this is possible because Hungary has agreements with the countries of the Western-Balkans on the returning of migrants. Mr Orbán said that Hungary receives the measures implemented by Austria at its borders with understanding.

Photo: Gergely Botár
Photo: Gergely Botár

He also pointed out that Hungary has „hermetically” sealed the Hungarian-Serbian border, and no one is allowed to stay in the territory of the country illegally as the Penal Code does not permit this. Therefore, no one arriving in Hungary illegally can move on to Austria, he said, adding: eight thousand military and police personnel are working at the border. If the current practice can be maintained, he continued, Hungary is also able to protect Austria from illegal immigrants. In answer to a question, Mr Orbán said the reason why migrants are leaving Hungary for Austria is that the European Commission decided that closed and guarded refugee camps must be disbanded or must be turned into open facilities. Should the possibility of „stationing” migrants in closed facilities until the closing of the asylum proceedings exist, not a single person would go from Hungary to Austria, he pointed out. Mr Orbán takes the view that the current European law does not help, but rather hinders Hungary in this issue.

The Hungarian Prime Minister said that he spoke to the Chancellor about the whole migrant affair with the greatest openness and sincerity. He said: „we look upon Austria’s problem as our own, with the resolution of which we provide every assistance”. In answer to a question, he confirmed his view that he does not see migration as the solution, but as the problem. Mr Orbán pointed out in answer to another question: there are civil society organisations working in Hungary also at present, and the Government supports them so that they can do their job well. However, the problems are not in the territory of Hungary, and not on the Hungarian side of the Hungarian-Serbian border. It is in Serbia where the assistance of non-governmental organisations would be truly required where there are at present some 600-1,000 people waiting to be allowed into Hungary, he said.

Photo: Gergely Botár
Photo: Gergely Botár

He stressed: the essence of „the Hungarian entry policy” lies in only allowing in as many people as the authorities are able to check. Based on the Hungarian approach, „each and every migrant poses a public security and terrorist threat”, and it takes a long time – several months – to determine the extent of the risk or whether the risk exists at all, he explained. The Prime Minister expressed his condolences to the victims of the Tuesday terrorist attack in France and to their relatives. „The series of terrorist attacks committed against Christian Europe to date has reached an entirely new level”, he said. The Hungarian Prime Minister described his meeting with the Austrian Chancellor as highly successful, and took the view: in addition to the historical, economic and geographical foundations of relations between the two countries, they have also consolidated the political foundations which are necessary for opening a new chapter.

The Prime Minister said that Austria is Hungary’s second most important trade partner. Some three thousand Austrian businesses are active in Hungary which maintain seventy thousand jobs. Consequently, based on a family of four, they provide a living for almost 300,000 Hungarians. He said: they agreed to treat the introduction of digital technologies and the modernisation of the economy as priority issues. There will be special emphasis on railway cooperation, and the opening of new border crossing points will continue. He further reported that Eximbank opened a credit facility worth HUF 500 million in order to promote cooperation between Hungarian and Austrian businesses.

In answer to a question regarding his support for Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump, Mr Orbán said: „the Democrats’ foreign policy is bad for Europe, and fatal for Hungary. By contrast, the migration and foreign policy endorsed by the Republicans and presidential candidate Donald Trump is good for Europe, and is a lifeline for Hungary”. He argued: one policy supports migration, the other one is opposed to it. One side regards the construction of democracy as a priority in its foreign policy, the other one is against this. Hungary is opposed to the exportation of democracy and migration, and this renders clear where Hungary’s best interest lies without any interference on its part with the issue of who will be the President of the United States as this is solely and exclusively the Americans’ business, he pointed out.