Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will tour EU capitals to push for a 10-point plan for the protection of EU’s external borders and free movement within the community, dubbed ‘Schengen 2.0’.
Orbán presented his package at a meeting of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) in Lisbon last Friday (15 April).
The website of the Hungarian government quotes Orbán saying that the plan is necessary because the European Commission’s proposal for management of the migration crisis is “wrong-headed”.
The latter seeks to reform the asylum system, while Hungary takes the view that “we must protect the borders”, said Orbán, who is one of the vice-presidents of the CDI, an international organisation of centrist parties of Christian democratic orientation.
The action plan will also be circulated among the Visegrad countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) and unspecified other EU prime ministers over the next few days. Next week Orbán will present the proposal in Germany in person, and also in a number of other European countries over the following weeks.
The Hungarian Prime Minister takes the view that it must be made clear to the EU that “it is not acceptable – as would be the case under the Commission’s proposal – for someone in Brussels to decide that the countries of the EU must solve their demographic and economic problems through immigration”.
Orbán said in Lisbon: “We believe that there are countries in the EU which wish to solve their problems in this manner, and there are others which do not”. He pointed out that Hungary falls into the latter group, because it does not seek to remedy such problems through immigration, but through prudent family and economic policy.
The website of the Hungarian government further quotes the prime minister saying that the EU cannot deprive Hungary of the right “to decide how we wish to resolve these problems”.
“In other words, the EU cannot create a system which it lets in migrants and then prescribes mandatory resettlement quotas for every member state”. Orbán is further quoted as saying tht a this is why the referendum planned to be held in Hungary in relation to the mandatory resettlement quota is important, because “now that we have Brussels’ official proposal on the table, there is enormous pressure on us. […] If we do not stop Brussels with a referendum, they will indeed impose on us […] masses of people, with whom we do not wish to live together”.
Last February Orbán announced that a referendum will be held on EU plans for a system of mandatory quotas.
The European Commission said that the planned Hungarian referendum may be at odds with an agreed strategy to handle the refugee crisis.
Quota plan challenged
Slovakia said last November it will launch legal action against the EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc.
Bratislava’s move is likely to be followed Prague. The Czech Republic cannot rule out legal action if the European Union tries to put in place any permanent quota system for distributing asylum seekers, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said yesterday (17 April).
The Czech leader said he thought it was unlikely the bloc would approve a permanent quota plan.
“I expect the line of opposition will be wider (against permanent quotas),” Sobotka said on a Sunday debate show.
“Let us talk about legal action against the proposal when it is necessary,” he added