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Immigration within and into the EU

January 20th, 2015

As PM Orbán elaborates his thoughts on immigration, a pro-government columnist agrees with him that intra-EU movements cannot be considered as migration. A left-wing columnist, on the other hand, criticizes PM Orbán for identifying the Charlie Hebdo murderers as immigrants.

On Sunday, PM Orbán gave a radio interview, in which he explained his earlier call to curb immigration to the EU (see BudaPost January 14). The Prime Minister said that Hungarians who take up jobs in the EU cannot be considered as immigrants, since the EU is a common market which Hungary is part of. By immigration, he means immigration from third countries. Mr Orbán noted that Hungary accepts asylum seekers, but economic migrants are not welcome.

Intra-EU migration cannot indeed be compared with immigration from third countries, Zsolt Bayer comments in Magyar Hírlap. The pro-government pundit agrees with Mr Orbán that the EU is a common market based on the free movement of individuals and goods, although the UK has recently restricted welfare payments to non-British EU citizens working in the UK. Bayer believes that illegal migration from outside the EU has no economic advantages for the member states. Immigration, he writes, undermines the reproduction of European culture, and “our grandchilden may no longer be white Europeans”.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss finds it “disgusting” that PM Orbán uses the Charlie Hebdo massacre to raise concerns about migration. The left-wing columnist recalls that the perpetrators of the murders were born in France and thus cannot be seen as immigrants. He adds that while the Prime Minister’s statements suggests that he would like to maintain cultural homogeneity, Europe has for centuries been multicultural, and Islam has been acknowledged as part of Germany by Chancellor Merkel. Concerning immigration to Hungary, Friss notes that most of the refugees and migrants arriving in Hungary are heading for Western Europe anyway, and only consider Hungary a transit state on their journey.

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