Addressing the Hungarian Permanent Conference in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in connection with migration that it was solely up to Hungarians to decide who can and cannot reside in Hungary and on what terms. Orbán said whereas western European leaders thought that Muslim immigrants could be secularised in the same way that traditional European Christian communities had been, Muslims did not want to be secularised and felt at home with a different life philosophy, “which they see as superior to secularised European life”. So chances of real integration were “extremely small”, he said. Hungary, the prime minister said, must tighten its immigration rules as the relevant 2007 law had been introduced before the advent of “migration inflation”. A transparent and enforceable system must be created, Orbán said, “otherwise Westerners will sweep us away”. He said that while the EU’s new migration package “contains sensible tendencies”, it was nevertheless “unacceptable” as it still relied on the redistribution of migrants. Member states would have to pay if they refused to accept migrants, and Hungary would have to set up camps housing thousands of them, he said. Orbán said he expected to see “big conflicts” over migration in the next six months. Speaking of Hungary’s policy for Hungarians across the borders, Orbán said the elections in Slovakia in which the ethnic Hungarian party “failed to make it to parliament multiple times in a row” revived the question whether ethnically based politics had a future, especially considering declining demographics. The Hungarian government, he said, held to “our joint responsibility of preserving ethnic foundations”. Politics based on ethnic groups, he said, had a future as long as that responsibility existed.
He expressed his best wishes to Hunor Kelemen of Romania’s ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ, noting that 2024 would see four elections there. Hungary will help Hungarians there in any way it can within the framework of international law and interstate regulations, he said.
Meanwhile, Orbán said support for Transcarpathia must be considered especially carefully. The situation of Transcarpathia Hungarians “is the hardest, most painful aspect of Hungarian life in the Carpathian Basin”, Orbán said.
Orbán said Hungary could not offer anything to Ukraine “because they are en route to an abyss and we do not want to give a helping hand in that.” He said Hungary’s Ukraine policy would therefore not change: it would provide humanitarian aid but refrain from steps that would take Hungary closer to a war. Orbán said it seemed clear to him that the EU’s Ukraine “three-legged strategy” based on the assumptions that Ukraine would win the war and Russia would lose — prompting a political reshuffle in Moscow — had failed.
Orbán noted he had proposed a “period of reflection” at the latest EU summit, and that the EU should admit that its “plan A” had failed. The aim was not that Ukraine “should be left to its own devices” but that the EU devise a “plan B”, more to the advantage of the Ukrainians and the Hungarian community there. “It would have also been better for European security than continuing this hopeless fight.” The prime minister said Hungary stood by Hungarians living in Ukraine and he lamented that “Ukraine still has time to harass Hungarians amid a bloody patriotic war.” Regarding Hungarian-language education and use, the situation had been better even in the Soviet Union, he said.