Brussels, August 31 (MTI) – The European Union’s policy of distributing migrants among member states is wrongheaded and Brussels should instead address the problem of this “modern-day exodus” beyond the bloc’s borders, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Monday.
Hungary is fulfilling its Schengen responsibilities with the aim of protecting the EU’s external borders, Peter Szijjarto told Hungarian journalists after meetings with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders and Violeta Bulc, the EU transport commissioner.
The minister said that the mass migration was an historic challenge for Europe. He noted that so far 154,400 migrants had crossed Hungary’s border illegally, and 153,000 had done so via Serbia. More than 140,000 have lodged requests for asylum. Szijjarto anticipated that from October, approximately the same number will enter Hungary as in the first nine months, largely because weather conditions will be such as to dissuade potential migrants from crossing the Mediterranean from Africa.
The minister accused Greece of failing to fulfil its EU obligations by not registering migrants, while he said countries of the western Balkans were incapable of putting a brake on the influx. Hungary must therefore protect the EU’s external border, he said, adding that this is something that Hungary is determined to do, criticisms notwithstanding.
He said EU member states were making irresponsible statements which only served to embolden people smugglers and make migrants more aggressive.
Szijjarto said he had spoken by phone last week with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He welcomed the idea of setting up so-called hot spots — management crisis centres for sorting genuine refugees from economic migrants — outside the EU and linking development support to affected countries to action taken to ease the migrant outflow.
The minister said that Europe needed to work together towards a solution. Hungary has sent policemen to help on the Macedonian-Serbian border, but this was not in itself a solution to the situation which has emerged in the western Balkans, he added.
Hungary is determined to hold an EU conference on the issue of migration with the participation of the western Balkan states and Turkey as soon as possible, he said, adding that this may take place at the start of October.