Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (shown), speaking to Hungarian diplomats in Budapest on September 7, criticized efforts by European Union leaders to impose immigration quotas before the continent’s borders are made secure. Orban told those gathered:
As long as we can't defend Europe’s outer borders, it is not worth talking about how many people we can take in....
The quota system wants to treat the effects before it treats the causes of immigration. The main reason for this is because (the EU) cannot control its outer borders.
Orban is often described in the media as “right wing” because of his commitment to defending Hungary’s territorial sovereignty.
He recently delivered the same message in an opinion piece for Germany's Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung:
The people want us to master the situation and protect our borders. Only when we have protected our borders can questions be asked about the numbers of people we can take in, or whether there should be quotas.
In his article, Orban also addressed the potential impact that the new immigrants would have on the historically Christian culture of Europe, noting that they “are mostly not Christians, but Muslims.”
“That’s an important question,” Orban said, “because Europe and Europeanism have Christian roots.”
“Or is it not already a cause for concern in itself, that the Christian culture of Europe is already hardly still able to hold Europe in their own Christian value system?” he asked rhetorically. “If we lose sight of the European idea, [Christianity] can become, on its own continent, a minority.”
The current crisis began when tens of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, and other refugees fleeing violence and unrest in the Middle East began entering Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary. Most of these immigrants are enroute to Germany and other more prosperous western European countries, where they seek to settle permanently.
To help stem the tide of migrants, Hungary is building a 110-mile-long fence along its border with Serbia. Most of the immigrants first entered Europe to refugee camps in Turkey, then crossed northward through Bulgaria, then Serbia, and finally into Hungary. Many then crossed the border into Austria, and on to their final destination — Germany.
Orban said that Hungarian army troops would also be deployed along the fence, and “anyone who does manage to cross it will be arrested and face legal consequences.” But he added: “No gunfire will be necessary.”
Speaking to the diplomats in Budapest, Orban said that refugees entering Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, or Hungary are safe in those countries and, in accordance with EU rules, should have their asylum applications processed there.
“If they want to continue on from Hungary, it’s not because they are in danger, it’s because they want something else," Orban said. They are seeking “a German life” — not physical safety.
Orban questioned the logic of Germany’s immigration policies, branding them as economically inefficient:
It’s absurd ... when the Germans say they will spend billions on providing for the new arrivals instead of giving the money to the countries around the crisis zone, where the [migrants] should be stopped in the first place.
It would be better for everyone. They wouldn’t come here. It would cost less. And our approach couldn’t be called into question morally either.
In an interview with Austrian public television (ORF) on September 6, Orban placed blame on Austria and Germany, stating:
As long as Austria and Germany don’t say clearly that they will not take any more migrants, then many millions of new immigrants will come to Europe. If we don’t change our position and instead keep inviting them, then they will keep coming and we won't be able to protect our borders.
Europe has become a destination in recent years for refugees fleeing from nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Further to the west, thousands of migrants fleeing Libya and Tunisia on boats have landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa, located just 113 miles from the Tunisian coast.
The situation has many parallels with the immigration problem facing the United States, but there are often different causes. Most immigrants crossing the southern U.S. border from Mexico come to seek economic opportunity, but most fleeing to Europe have escaped from homelands that have been ravished by political turmoil and bloodshed.
Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), in a recent article reprinted by The New American, offered his explanation for the reasons behind the current European refugee crisis. He noted that while we all sympathize with the plight of the displaced people, we must keep in mind “that this is a man-made crisis and it is a government-made crisis.” The former congressman, who is well known for his advocacy of a non-interventionist U.S. foreign policy, wrote:
The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that US and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized with no hopes of economic recovery. This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing “democracy” at the barrel of a gun.
Paul noted that the widely circulated photo of a young Syrian boy lying drowned on a Turkish beach has been exploited by the interventionists calling for direct U.S. attacks on the Syrian government headed by Bashar al-Assad, but few have mentioned the fact that the little boy was from a Kurdish family fleeing ISIS in Kobane. And, noted Paul, “There was no ISIS in either Iraq or Syria before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.”
Most of the refugees fleeing Iraq and Syria and trying to reach Germany, by way of Hungary, enjoyed lives relatively free from persecution under both Saddam Hussein (whom the United States overthrew) and Assad (whom the United States is attempting to overthrow). With ISIS filling the power vacuum in their former homelands, they must now flee for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs and whatever they can carry.
Paul offers the following solution to the refugee problem: “Stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Embrace the prosperity that comes with a peaceful foreign policy, not the poverty that goes with running an empire. End the Empire!”
Photo of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban: AP Images