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Recent years have shown that “wherever in Europe a leftist government is set up they will introduce pro-migration policies which involve opening the borders”, Gergely Gulyás, head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said at his regular press conference. Gulyás mentioned the Italian government as an example, arguing that it has opened the country’s ports, which “equals an invitation to Europe for many people”. The outgoing European Commission seeks to put mandatory migrant quotas back on the agenda, while “they do not send money for border protection”, Gulyás insisted. He went on to say that the Commission “has done a lot of damage … it deepened the gap between central and Western Europe, and it had better not do any more in their remaining time”. Hungary rejects the quota system but will “gladly help countries with returning illegal migrants with no refugee status”, Gulyás said, adding that no such request has arrived from Italy as yet.

Gulyás announced that Ahmed H., a Syrian national earlier convicted on terrorism charges and imprisoned in Hungary, would be returned to Cyprus within a few days.

Hungary will not change its position concerning the quota system; it will seek to protect rather than open up its borders, Gulyás said. Referring to an earlier European Court decision, he said that “in lack of a [migrant] crisis situation similar to that in 2015, imposing [mandatory] distribution would be unlawful”.

On the subject of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to Hungary, Gulyás noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Putin routinely met once a year. “Hungary seeks good relations with all world powers, while Russia is also an important business partner,” he added.