Orban: EU’s Permissive Stance on Migration Has ‘Turned the Mediterranean Into a Cemetery’

A member of the Libyan Red Crescent checks blankets in which the bodies of drowned migrant children were wrapped on the shore of Zawia, west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, after the corpses were transported to a nearby hospital morgue, on December 16, 2020. - The bodies of four migrant …
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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has defended his strong stance against mass migration, saying the European Union’s relaxed attitude towards illegal border crossings “has turned the Mediterranean into a cemetery”.

The national conservative leader offered his characteristically robust take on EU immigration policy in an interview with the German news outlet FOCUS, a translation of which has been seen by Breitbart London.

“The main point of conflict between you and the EU is immigration. Why are you so opposed to the distribution of immigrants among EU member-states?” asked his interviewer, in reference to the EU policy of compulsory quotas for migrant redistribution which several conservative-leaning countries led by Hungary have been resisting.

“Because it’s based on a wrong-headed concept,” Orbán explained.

“We must take help to where the problems are, not bring those problems to Europe. The EU is creating illusions in the minds of people living in poorer countries. This is why we established the ‘Hungary Helps’ programme,” he said, referencing the Hungarian aid programme which helps Middle Eastern Christians, in particular, to rebuild their lives and communities in their historic homes.

“[Migrants] want a European life and they believe that here they’ll be welcomed with open arms, but in fact they’ll end up in the hands of people-smugglers. Europe’s wrong-headed policies have generated a pull factor that has turned the Mediterranean into a cemetery,” he said.

Indeed, the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has previously admitted that EU- and NGO-backed “rescue” missions in the Mediterranean Sea have “strengthened the business model” of people-smugglers by making crossings more viable, leading to more attempts to reach Europe and more drownings.

Prime Minister Orbán and his government have strongly backed Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s national populist La Lega (League) party, who as interior minister adopted a robust stance on keeping the country’s ports closed to migrant transport ships and pursuing NGOs he alleged were aiding and abetting illegal immigration through the legal system.

Mr Salvini left government when the left-populist Five Star Movement (M5S) replaced La Lega with the left-establishment Democratic Party (PD) as its coalition partner, with that alliance doing much to undo Salvini’s border policiescausing rises in crossings and drownings, which had been falling while he was in office.

That left-leaning coalition has itself now been replaced by a so-called “technical government” with no real democratic mandate, as the Italian establishment struggles to avoid fresh elections which, current polling suggests, would see Salvini emerge leading the largest party.

The prime example of the sort of “tough love” border stance favoured by the Hungarians is found in Australia, where the government has adopted a firm policy of turning back any illegal migrant boats and disallowing any asylum applications from migrants who do reach Australian shores — resulting in crossings attempts and drownings falling to essentially zero.

On the question of immigration more generally, Prime Minister Orbán was clear that he favoured supporting local people to have the families which many feel they can no longer afford in the West as an alternative to importing foreigners to tackle population decline.

“Hungary wants to address demographic challenges by supporting families and enacting strong family policy measures, not by inviting in immigrants. The Germans want to force their own pro-immigration policy on us. I have to reject that,” he insisted.

The Hungarian government minister for families, Katalin Novák, recently discussed the philosophy underpinning the country’s family policy with Breitbart London at length.

 

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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