Former Socialist Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyúrcsány (2004-2009) gave an impromptu press conference in Röszke Tuesday afternoon from the southern side of the fence erected by Hungary meters from the Serbian border in order to stem the tide of asylum seekers into the European Union.
His comments in English can be viewed here, along with a brief question-and-answer session that followed.
“What is the difference between the people and the government? We absolutely understand and believe that this is not the way the challenge can and should be handled. I know that we have to protect our border. This is our obligation in terms of Schengen. But there is a much, much stronger obligation—remaining human beings! The order of life is stronger than the order of law. If it is a European challenge, and it is, this fence will not solve any problems. Because those people who left their country, their nation, who are en route here to Hungary, perhaps they bypass Hungary, but at the end of the day, they come to Europe. And we have to (make a concerted) effort to handle the situation. It’s outrageous! We will not forgive the Hungarian government for these measures. We are not just the enemy of all these people. We are also the enemy of all of us who believe there is a normal human treatment of this challenge.”
Responding to answers posed to him from the Hungarian side of the fence, Gyúrcsány said the majority of inhabitants of that largely Hungarian community were opposed to the fence. He said a number of Horgos inhabitants who work or study in Hungary were unable to return to the Serbian village after Hungary sealed its southern border to asylum seekers.
“We call on the government to open the border again and to find another safe solution,” he said.