The European Union’s external borders can only be protected completely if migrant reception and collection centers known as hot spots are located outside of the bloc, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told public television on Tuesday.
Szijjártó said that Hungary cautiously welcomed the decision to abandon mandatory migrant quotas following the recent European Union summit, noting that the European Council had already once decided the scrap the quotas only for its decision to be overridden by EU interior ministers.
The decision to abandon mandatory migrant quotas is a “victory for the Visegrád countries”, he said, adding that it was a “significant achievement” for the Hungary-led V4 that EU member states would not have to take in migrants from planned hot spots.
Another achievement, he said, was that “the focus of EU politicians has shifted from mandatory quotas to protecting the borders”. Hungary, he added, had urged that shift for the past three years.
Szijjártó cautioned, at the same time, that border protection would not be complete unless the hot spots were set up outside the bloc.
Pro-migrant NGOs and human smuggling rings should not be the ones to decide “with whom we live”, he said.
Szijjártó also warned of a possible increase in migration pressure after Turkey quit an agreement with Greece under which it took back migrants.
Hungary’s priority, he said, was for the line of defence “to be as far south as possible”.
He noted that Hungary has offered Montenegro 25km of fencing to reinforce the Montenegro-Albania border. He also noted that Hungarian police carry out patrols in Macedonia.
Featured image: MTI