EU-Turkey migrant deal is ‘necessary,’ says Hungary’s Orban

EU-Turkey migrant deal is ‘necessary,’ says Hungary’s Orban

BUDAPEST – Anadolu Agency
EU-Turkey migrant deal is ‘necessary,’ says Hungary’s Orban

Hungarian Prime Mnister Viktor Orban walks up the stairs prior to a speech at the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, on April 25, 2016 - AFP photo

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said a deal between the European Union and Turkey over the migrant influx into the bloc, the largest migrant crisis since World War II, was “necessary.” 

“The deal with Turkey was necessary. We support doing bilateral agreements that are conducted with all the countries from where refugees may come to Europe,” said Orban in an interview with Portuguese newspaper Expresso which was published on May 2. 

“It was also a good decision to make financial contributions to the Turks because it is hard to overcome the refugee pressure all by yourself,” he added. 

Turkey and the EU reached a deal in mid-March under which the former accepted to take back all illegal migrants reaching Greece as of March 20, while the latter accepted to take the same number of Syrian refugees from Turkey in return. 

The EU also pledged visa-free travel for Turkish citizens as of July, if Turkey met all the necessary criteria by that time, while also granting a total of 6 million euros to Turkey to be used to increase the living standards of Syrian refugees in the country. Accelerated negotiation talks with the EU were also pledged to Turkey within the scope of the deal. 

Orban has been one of the most outspoken critics of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming stance towards refugees, a country which took in around 1 million refugees in 2015.

Orban said no one could force Hungary to accept migrants, reiterating his position that he refused the migrant quota system among the EU member states. 

“Our perception towards the migrants crisis is totally different than that of the European Commission. I do not believe that migration will solve the demographic and economic problems,” he said. 

In an interview with German daily Bild on Feb. 25, Orban said the European Union’s promise of money and other concessions for Turkey in return for preventing more people leaving its shores for Europe was an “illusion.”

“Brussels is making promises to the Turks that we can’t keep - or don’t want to keep. The plan to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Turkey and distribute them across Europe is an illusion,” Orban had said. 

If Hungary agreed to this, he said, “They would tie me up on the flagpole here in Budapest.”