6 September 2017
In Budapest on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said that “The position of the Hungarian government is that the ruling issued by the European Court of Justice in the migrant quota case is outrageous and irresponsible”. He was speaking at a joint press conference with Minister of Justice László Trócsányi, who emphasised that Hungary can expect further legal battles.
“The real battle is only just beginning, and Hungary will be making use of all opportunities for legal redress to ensure that nobody can be relocated to Hungary against the wishes of the Hungarian people”, the Foreign Minister said.
According to Mr. Szijjártó, the Court’s decision endangers the future and security of all Europe, and runs against the interests of Europe’s nations, including the Hungarian nation. The Minister said that in his opinion the European Court of Justice has made a political ruling: “politics has raped European law”.
“In contravention of the founding treaties, the ruling asserts the power of the European Commission over EU Member States. This is unacceptable, and we shall do everything possible to protect the country”, Mr. Szijjártó said.
He explained that the time has come for the EU to “consign to the past” the mandatory relocation quotas, as the concept is a failed response to illegal immigration: just a few weeks before the 26 September deadline, only 25 per cent of the target number of migrants have been successfully relocated.
“Hungary continues to fulfil its Schengen commitments and is protecting the Schengen Area and the external border of the European Union”, the Foreign Minister declared.
He pointed out that “To date, Hungary has undertaken all of the related costs and expenses alone, and is showing solidarity towards Western Balkan countries that are also protecting their borders”. He added that “In contrast, the European Commission is not funding border protection, but only the admission of illegal immigrants”. In reply to a question, Mr. Szijjártó said that on this issue Hungary is counting on solidarity from its Visegrád Group (V4) allies.
At the press conference Minister of Justice László Trócsányi also said that Hungary can expect further legal battles, adding that it is regrettable that the Court ignored Hungary’s legally sound arguments and decided that the fundamental precepts of EU law could be ignored.
According to the Minister, the ruling has upset the balance between the European Union’s institutions: the European Commission has won the court case, while the powers of the European Council and the European Parliament have decreased. This, he said, is despite the fact that “the EU’s political direction should be determined by the European Council, the official body comprising Europe’s heads of state and government”.
The Hungarian justice minister stressed that the Court’s argument is unconvincing, and serves to underpin the “European mainstream”, while “It could have issued a totally different ruling”.
The Minister also noted that it is difficult to accept the assertion that there was no migration crisis in 2015. He announced that “In the infringement proceedings launched against Hungary by the European Commission we shall put forward new arguments”.
Mr. Trócsányi also said that there is the danger of a permanent mechanism being established, which Hungary regards as unacceptable: Europe must set out on a different path. In reply to a question, Mr. Trócsányi said that the European Court of Justice is at the highest possible level, and in this case there is no further possibility for legal redress.
Replying to another question, Mr. Szijjártó said that all possible actions have been taken to normalise Hungarian-Dutch relations, and the two countries’ prime ministers will be “exchanging a few words” at the EU summit in Tallinn in late September.
When asked about news reports that, between 2012 and 2014, Azerbaijan channelled some 2.5 billion euros to influential foreign officials and organisations, the Foreign Minister said that he hopes that investigations will reveal the truth as soon as possible. Mr. Szijjártó rejected all insinuations of any possible links between Hungarian foreign policy decisions and what are probably international crimes. “The bribing of politicians and reporters is unacceptable – both in Europe and everywhere else”, he stressed.