Europe’s external border must be protected to ensure people smugglers cannot profit from migrants tempted to undertake perilous journeys, and all migrants who enter Europe illegally must be sent home, claimed Hungarian MEP Balázs Hidvéghi.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Hidvéghi told the chamber that recently reported deaths in the Mediterranean are a direct result of pro-immigration lobbyists and NGO humanitarian vessels that continue to effectively be a taxi for migrants halfway across the stretch of water.
A completely new European migration policy is required that focuses on border protection and makes it clear that Europe will not accept illegal entry into its territory, Hidvéghi added.
His remarks fell upon deaf ears as far as European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson was concerned. She took to the floor to insist in favor of new arrivals, claiming Europe needs migration and the workforce immigration brings, saying that legal and safe hubs for processing new arrivals must be created.
Speaking to Hungarian journalists during a break in the European Parliament’s plenary session, Hidvéghi reiterated that the only way to prevent further human tragedies in the Mediterranean is to fundamentally change Europe’s approach to migration. Border protection must be restored and the message must be sent to everyone, including people smugglers, that there is no illegal entry into Europe.
“Those who are in the EU without authorization must be sent back to their home countries,” said the governing Fidesz party MEP.
He stressed that the European Union is forced to take action as illegal migration is on the rise with data showing there are more illegal entry attempts at the EU’s external borders than in the 2015 crisis. “It is not the countries protecting the borders that should be attacked, but the respect of the law that must be ensured,” he added.
“We cannot perpetuate a situation where illegal actions that violate the law provide an opportunity to enter the EU,” said Hidvéghi, adding that this is not what the citizens of EU member states want and that governments are not in a position to maintain such a system.
“Shipwrecks in the Mediterranean are heartbreaking human tragedies, but blaming the legitimate border protection efforts of member states for these deaths is an unfair and wrong approach,” Hidvéghi told the chamber. “In fact, the underlying cause of these tragic events is Europe’s laxity and lack of sanctions on illegal entry into the EU.
“These deaths are caused by pro-immigration statements, quotas and impunity for NGO boats,” he claimed, highlighting the increasing number of boats arriving in Italy.
Intelligence agencies predict that 650,000 people are preparing to leave Africa this year alone.