Orban: It’s ‘impossible’ that the EU will allow visa-free travel for Turks

Viktor Orbán [European Commission]

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that he sees it as “impossible” to allow Turkish citizens visa-free travel to Europe, and that European countries will be unable to keep their promise to Turkey.

Orbán made this statement in an interview with Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, as quoted by the government website kormany.hu.

“The European countries are unable to keep the promise they made to Turkey,” stated the Hungarian prime minister, who paid a visit to Brazil for the Sunday closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (21 August).

The EU-Turkey deal according to which Turkey takes back immigrants arriving on the Greek islands requires that in exchange, the EU grants visa-free travel to the Turkish nationals starting in October. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to “flood Europe with migrants” if the deal does not go through.

Erdogan threatens to send refugees to the EU by plane and bus

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an today (11 February) slammed EU and UN pressure to open Turkey’s borders to more refugees, threatening to send the millions already in the country to other states.

The decision to grant Turkey visa-free travel depends on the implementation by Ankara of all of the EU’s required preconditions, but also on the unanimity of the member states and the European Parliament. If Hungary dangles a veto, the deal could be considered dead.

In the interview, Orbán takes the view that the issue of granting visa-free travel to Turkish people is “an enormous problem, and a highly sensitive issue”, but as far as he is concerned he is not worried about Ankara’s threats.

“Turkey is unable to follow through on these threats because the Hungarian border is also the entrance into Europe, and we are protecting our border one hundred per cent”, the Hungarian Prime Minister stressed.

The Hungarian border is the only regional entrance to the Schengen zone. Bulgaria and Romania are not yet Schengen members, and Greece, a Schengen member, has largely failed in its obligations. Together with the other members of the Visegrad group, Hungary takes the position that Greece should be kicked out of Schengen, and an effective border should be established further north.

Visegrád group calls migration mini-summit, seeks plan B

Prague will host an extraordinary summit of the Visegrad group, three days ahead of the February EU summit, to discuss the migration crisis and a possible “plan B” in case of a widening divide with the older Schengen members.

In the interview, Orbán spoke about the situation in Turkey following the 15 July botched coup.

“If there is no stability in Turkey, it will cause a problem for the entire region. We must support the Turkish government,” he stressed.

But Orbán also argued that the potential reintroduction of the death penalty, which the Turkish government considered in the wake of the unsuccessful coup, would divert the Eurasian country from the path leading to the EU.

Mogherini on Turkey: 'No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty'

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini stressed on Monday (18 July) that “no country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty”, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that the country should reintroduce capital punishment after last week’s attempted coup.

Answering a question of whether the arrival of refugees would  help solve the European Union’s demographic problems, Orbán said the following: “Never. They may cause an even more serious problem, because they build parallel societies in Europe. Migrants come to Europe with a different culture and mentality, and these parallel societies are dangerous and destabilise the countries of the EU. We would like the nature of the Hungarian people to remain as an integrated society.”

Preference for Trump

The Brazilian newspaper confirmed what Orbán said in connection with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, that the latter’s foreign policy would be better for the EU.

According to the newspaper, at the reception held in the Itamaraty Palace in Rio on Sunday, Brazilian Foreign Minister José Serra asked the Hungarian prime minister whether he indeed supports Trump. Orbán answered:, “Yes. Trump’s foreign policy would be the best for us. The Democrats believe that the entry of migrants into Europe need not be controlled, and this is very dangerous. Trump is in favour of screening immigrants. He is further(more) opposed to democracy-building in other countries, and on this issue we are in agreement.”

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