by N. Peter Kramer
In an address during a meeting of the EU's centre-right political party the EPP, Orban said 'migration turned out to be the Trojan horse of terrorism' and warned of 'a dominant Muslim presence in western Europe in even the lifetime of our generation'. He criticised EU support for regime change in Syria and Libya, saying it worsened the situation of those countries. 'If we kick an anthill, we shouldn't be surprised if the ants overwhelm us', he said. Orban's proposals for coping with future flows of migrants seeking to enter the EU included creating 'safe spots on the shores of Libya' and reform of the European Court of Human Rights.
None of the other EPP leaders present at the meeting confronted Hungary's prime minister directly in their own remarks. German leader Merkel again repeated her defence of EU refugee policies and defended the deal with Turkey which has closed the western Balkan route for migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach the EU. But she didn't say anything about the tens of thousands stranded in camps in Greece before the deal was struck; nor about the East-European Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic) refusing to agree with the European Commission's proposal to find a place for the refugees in the EU member states. Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister, could only muster the cliché that to aid those in need is a core European value: 'we comfort the dispossessed and welcome the stranger'… That helps!
In the meantime, Hungary has EU's strictest system for dealing with refugees. Under new laws that have just come into force, asylum seekers will be held in camps while their applications are processed and will have not any right of appeal against detention. Why does the EPP, Orban's political family, tolerate Orban's politics? Why can the Hungarian Prime Minister be a virulent critic of his German colleague Angela Merkel, the uncontested leader of the EPP, without anyone refuting him and without any consequence? Tell me!