Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi politely reminded establishment Eurocrats in the EPP and S&D parliamentary groupings earlier this week in Strasbourg, France, that time has confirmed that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was correct in the debate concerning migration.
While delivering an address at the European Parliament on Wednesday, February 15th, MEP Hidvéghi began by recalling the Hungarian prime minister’s position—in which he stood alone, per usual, among European heads of state—on the fateful 2015 migrant crisis, saying that while others spoke of “quotas and redistribution,” Orbán urged “stronger border controls” and a “built a fence.”
“Time has proven him right while most others were either wrong or not brave enough, perhaps, to say what they really thought,” declared the European lawmaker. He added that it was “refreshing to now see the EPP and Manfred Weber finally following the path of the Hungarian prime minister,” referring to the political grouping’s shift in rhetoric toward mass migration, which it recently outlined in its “Position Paper on Asylum and Migration.”
Speaking directly to EPP lawmakers, MEP Hidvéghi said: “You are eight years late but better late than never.”
The Fidesz MEP also reminded EU parliamentarians in the chamber that Hungary has been defending the bloc’s “external borders for eight years,” and noted that the country’s taxpayers have so far “spent more than 1.7 billion euros in that effort, and still the European Commission has not contributed a penny to the cost of the border wall.”
“We are protecting the entire European Union, we demand a significant contribution from the Commission for these costs. It is time to pay the bills” the Hungarian MEP concluded before vacating the podium.
Later the same day, during comments given to Magyar Távirati Iroda (MTI), the Fidesz EP representative reiterated the final point in his address, saying: “I think that our completely legitimate expectation is that if we protect Europe’s external border, which we do, then the European Commission must also contribute to its cost.”
As The European Conservative reported weeks ago, the EU Commission published figures that revealed the number of asylum applications submitted across the EU increased to 923,911 last year, up from 630,890 the year before, representing an increase of 46.5%—and the highest recorded since the European migrant crisis of 2015.
As the torrent of migration shows no sign of abating—and as support for right-wing populists and national conservatives continues to grow across Europe—EPP and S&D lawmakers seem increasingly willing to adopt positions previously only held and articulated by national Right parties.
As an example of this, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson last month presented a plan that has the stated aim to accelerate and increase the return of rejected asylum seekers to their country of origin. While speaking about the proposal at a press conference in Brussels, Johansson told journalists, “Those who do not have the right to reside in the European Union must be sent back to their country of origin.”
Whether or not the Commission plans to follow through with this plan remains to be seen.