Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár and undersecretary András Giró-Szász held their weekly press conference today. The entirety of the proceedings was spent addressing Hungary’s refugee crisis and Fidesz’s plans to deal with it by changing thirteen laws.
Lázár kicked off the press conference by saying that Hungary’s southern border can only be protected if the government does three things: builds a fence, dispatches law enforcement to the border and expands Hungary’s criminal code.
“We are the ones who have to protect the European Union,” he said, as he explained why the protection of Hungary’s borders is so important.
Lázár blamed the German government for the situation at Budapest’s Keleti train station. He said the German government poorly communicated its intentions when it announced it would provide asylum to all Syrian refugees.
An undersecretary at Germany’s interior ministry had contacted Hungary’s ambassador in Berlin and asked the Hungarian government to pick 250-300 asylum seekers and put them on a train bound for Germany, Lázár said.
The minister said the German embassy owes a visit and an explanation to the Syrian asylum seekers at Keleti for all the misunderstandings that took place in recent days.
Lázár then made a plea to all asylum seekers in Hungary, asking them to abide by Hungarian and EU laws, specifically that they register themselves as asylum seekers. He asked opposition politicians to refrain from attacking the police, the military and employees of Hungary’s immigration office.
“Leave those in peace who are trying to work on the situation,” he said.
Lázár said the government is responsible for what happens, and therefore the government should be the target of criticism.
Western media is trying to make Hungary look bad
Hungary was being singled out and labeled. He said Western European countries are trying to generate a scandal over Hungary’s management of the crisis.
Older EU Member States were threatening younger EU Member States, he said.
For example, Austria was threatening to withhold EU fiscal transfers to younger EU Member States that would not support the European quota for the distribution of asylum seekers arriving in the EU.
Lázár said any government that wants to fill its labor shortages with asylum seekers is more than welcome to do so, but Hungary will not try to fix its labor shortages or demographic decline with migrants because the country is surrounded by Hungarians living in neighboring countries.
Should Fidesz pass the proposed legislative modifications to enhance protection of Hungary’s border, the Hungarian military wouldonly be authorized to use non-lethal projectiles such as water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets, and only in an “emergency situation”.
The government is planning to erect what it calls “transit zones” on the border with Serbia. Lázár said these zones, or camps, will not provide open access into Hungary but rather will be open to those arriving from Serbia. If the asylum seekers did not like the camps, they would have the opportunity to return to Serbia but not enter Hungary.
If someone still finds a way to illegally enter Hungary, Giró-Szász said, they will be committing a crime and will be arrested, and either taken to prison or deported from the European Union, presumably to Serbia.