A senior Hungarian government spokesman has said measures taken by individual states or small groups of states to address ongoing mass migration deal more effectively with the problem than European Commission initiatives.
Zoltán Kovács — the government spokesman for the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister — was explaining Hungary’s approach regarding the mass migrations crisis to journalists.
According to Mr. Kovács, of those migrants still entering Hungary the number claiming that they are of Syrian origin on certain days has fallen as far as fifth place in the league table of arrivals. EurActiv reports him saying those numbers show people come from as many as a hundred other countries, such that Europe does not face a refugee crisis, but rather a mass migration one.
Mr. Kovács said that credit for bringing the so-called Balkan route into the European Union (EU) under better control, does not belong to the EU-Turkey migrant deal.
It rather belongs to Hungary, and the steps it has taken to manage mass-migration, along with those unilaterally adopted by some other member states. In addition some joint measures put in place by smaller groups of member states and prospective EU members have helped.
He was referring to steps taken by the Visegrád Group of countries — Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — to assist Macedonia in sealing the Greek-Macedonian border across which there had been an uncontrolled flow of migrants attempting to reach Western Europe.
Some of the steps were seen as controversial at the time, especially as the European Commission was itself attempting to devise and implement a quota-based relocation programme for refugees within the EU. Mr. Kovács explained:
“Engaging with Macedonia and Serbia was more effective than the whole EU approach. The effective mechanisms of handling the crisis come not so from the joint European, or more European answer, but from the efforts of member states.”
Mr. Kovács suggested the real division among member states was between those genuinely trying to implement existing EU policies, and others who had given up, allowing uncontrolled flows of migrants into the politico-trading bloc. He said:
“We believe that the Commission’s proposals, the European institutional proposals, are aiming, or rather trying to deal with the consequences of what we are experiencing.
“The wording itself is telling. It is trying to suggest that we have to manage the migration, instead of having to stop the migration.”