Barcelona, April 13 (MTI) – The European Union will soon face a critical situation in terms of the economy, security and migration, unless it finds “rapid and firm” responses to issues in the South and the Middle East, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Barcelona on Monday.
Speaking after a meeting of his counterparts in the EU and the Mediterranean, Szijjarto said that the situation in those regions is “far worse than any time before”. Apart from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the situation is escalating in Syria and Libya, while the Islamic State terrorist organisation gains more and more ground, he argued.
Europe needs to step up its fight against terrorism, strengthen energy and business cooperation, and ensure more scholarships for students from those regions, the minister said.
Concerning Christian communities at risk of terrorist attacks, Szijjarto said that so far, 750,000 Christians have fled their homes in the Middle East, and called for increased European efforts to save those people.
On the subject of Hungary’s plans to contribute 150 troops to an international anti-IS mission, the minister said that parliament would discuss the matter and Tuesday, and the first group of commanders could leave for Iraq as early as the second half of May.
In terms of energy, Europe should increase cooperation with such countries as Algeria, Libya or Egypt, which account for 15 percent of Europe’s gas consumption. Those countries should be assisted in further exploration of their gas fields, while Europe should focus on infrastructure developments, such as gas pipes or liquid natural gas terminals, involving as many countries as possible.
Concerning migration, Szijjarto said that the European community would help countries of origin with a total 15.4 billion euros in the next seven years. Stabilising the economies of those countries will reduce the pressure of migration, he added. He also said that free trade agreements with those countries would also be needed, and Hungary would go on with its programme of opening trading houses in other countries.