Zoltán Kovács, official spokesman for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has responded to accusations of wrongdoing by “ivory tower” editors at The New York Times by saying that they “just don’t get” the European migrant crisis.
The newspaper’s editorial board claimed that Prime Minister Orbán was “playing the European Union for a patsy” on 13 March, urging the bloc’s central authorities to take action against his government.
“It’s easy to be charmed by the human rights nonsense when you’re penning editorials from an office in Midtown Manhattan,” replied Kovács on an official government blog post. “But we’re running a government responsible for the safety and security of our citizens – as well as the citizens of Europe – on the front lines of this crisis, and we see this struggle differently.”
“[When they ask] ‘At what point will the union have the courage to take action against [Orbán’s] policies?’, do they mean, at what point will the union have the courage to take action against the government of Hungary for protecting the external border of Europe’s Schengen Area?
“[T]he answer is: they won’t because they see that it’s in the EU’s interest to protect the union’s external border,” he said.
“We’ll hear the usual howls from the liberal critics, but when reason prevails, Europeans understand that protecting the border must be a priority.”
Echoing President Donald J. Trump’s statement that “a nation without borders if not a nation”, Kovács asserted: “If you don’t have a border, as they say, you don’t have a country.”
The Fidesz spokesman went on to describe how “the southern border of Hungary is essentially Europe’s border because it’s an external border of the Schengen Area. Once inside the Schengen Area, people can move freely across much of the European Union without any border stations or passport controls.”
This system has previously been described as a terror risk by security expert Robert Noble, who led Interpol from 2000 to 2014. “Europe’s open-border arrangement, which enables travel through 26 countries without passport checks or border controls, is effectively an international passport-free zone for terrorists to execute attacks on the Continent and make their escape,” Nobel wrote, shortly after Islamist terrorists carried out a mass-casualty attack in France.
“[Migrants] don’t stop to request asylum in Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, or Serbia because they’re not ‘inside’ Europe,” explained Kovács, acknowledging that Greece is technically part of Schengen but pointing out that it has no land borders with the rest of it.
“The [New York] Times editors in their ivory tower in New York assert that the [Hungarian] prime minister is playing Europe for a patsy. Unfortunately, migrants – certainly not all, but many – have been gaming the system in Europe.
“Hundreds of thousands have crossed Europe’s Schengen border illegally. Sometimes they go through the motions of requesting asylum and are instructed to remain in a camp until their cases are decided. Many of them, though, don’t bother to wait and, abusing asylum rules and the open borders of the Schengen area, disappear somewhere into the European Union. That’s illegal and that’s why we’ve changed the law to be able to say that migrants can’t move about freely in the same way as citizens.”