Budapest, June 24 (MTI) – Hungary fully complies with all European Union laws but the government wants consultations with EU officials regarding the issue of illegal migration, the foreign minister told a news conference on Wednesday.
Peter Szijjarto said: “There is no question of Hungary suspending the application of EU rules, and no such decision has been made.”
The minister said Hungary has received some 61,000 illegal immigrants this year alone, 60,922 of whom entered the country from Serbia. This constitutes an enormous migration pressure, he said, adding that it creates severe technical problems for Hungary, as “colleagues working on migration are all on duty at the southern border […] to ensure that Hungary complies with all EU regulations, including the Dublin rules, and to register all migrants entering Hungary”.
Szijjarto said Hungary “is doing all it can” to mend the technical and capacity issues as soon as possible, so that it complies with the EU “on all aspects” of migration.
The government, he said, was informed that Austria and ten other EU countries want to return illegal migrants back to Hungary. “We do not agree with this,” he said, adding that the migrants’ first point of entry was Greece, not Hungary. “They should be sent back there,” he said.
The cabinet has instructed the justice ministry to initiate a consultation as quickly as possible with the European Commission in connection with the Dublin Regulation, the EU rule that a migrant’s claim must be processed in the country they first arrive in.
Meanwhile, the ministry of foreign affairs must consult the EU’s foreign policy chief on the fastest and most effective way to alleviate migration pressure from the Western Balkans, the minister added.
Concerning Hungary’s plans to build a fence along the country’s southern border with Serbia, Szijjarto said the cabinet had decided to set aside a sum of 6.5 billion forints (EUR 21m) for materials and construction. “The goal is that the temporary fence should be built by the state itself,” he said.
The government has asked the parliamentary groups of the ruling parties to make preparations for the amendments necessary for construction of the fence, Szijjarto said.
The foreign minister also said that Hungary could in the future put up similar fences along any other border section where “there is no other efficient way to prevent illegal entry”.
He said the fence along the border with Serbia is “not a bilateral issue” and “not about Serbia”. Cooperation and relations between Hungary and Serbia have never been “as good, as smooth and as effective” as they are now, he said, adding that the matter will be discussed at the Hungary-Serbia government summit next Wednesday.