Budapest, June 18 (MTI) – Though the European Union is seeking a consensus on the problem of immigration, Hungary has “no time to waste”, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, told public news channel M1 on Thursday morning.
Szijjarto argued that the pressure on Hungary was greater than on Italy or Greece, and noted that the number of immigrants crossing Hungary’s borders had totalled over 50,000 in the first five months of the year.
On Wednesday, the government ordered construction of a fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia to stop illegal entrants.
In his interview, Szijjarto said that while the international media focuses on the influx of immigrants arriving through the Mediterranean, the EU “seems reluctant to realise that tens of thousands of immigrants come to Europe from the Western Balkans”. In that situation, he insisted, it is “logical” that the government takes measures “to protect Hungarian people from the pressure of immigrants”.
Szijjarto stressed that the fence is designed to close off the “green” border while crossing stations would continue to offer legal entry.
The foreign minister said that he had consulted his Serbian counterpart on Wednesday, and added that a meeting of his European colleagues would probably discuss the matter in Luxembourg on Monday.
Referring to recent remarks by Pope Francis, Szijjarto said he agreed that those forced to leave their homes must be assisted. If people leave their homeland for economic reasons, those reasons must be eliminated and their countries should be supported in such efforts, he added.
As for political refugees, Szijjarto voiced Hungary’s readiness to continue to grant asylum to victims of dictatorships.
Photo: Balazs Beli