Foreign minister discusses migration with V4, Baltic, northern European counterparts
Jurmala, April 21 (MTI) – Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó discussed the migration crisis and its effects on Europe’s security at a meeting with the foreign ministers of the other three Visegrad Four (V4) countries and the Baltic and northern European states in Jurmala, Latvia on Thursday.
Szijjártó told MTI over the phone that the crisis constitutes a serious security risk for Europe, but another side of the problem is that EU institutions are still bent on using the same old measures “that have failed in the past” to try to resolve the crisis. But experience has shown, Szijjártó insisted, that measures based on migrant quotas will not work. As long as the EU is sticking to these ideas, Europe is heading towards a dead end, he added.
The minister reiterated Hungary’s position that it was time for the EU to start focusing on protecting the bloc’s external borders. Failure to protect the borders will put the Schengen Area at risk, and the bloc’s collapse would have a “dramatic” effect on the economy of the V4 grouping of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic, he said. The V4 are the “hinterland” of Germany’s industry, which is the backbone of the EU’s economy, Szijjártó said. A collapse of the Schengen system would render the German manufacturing industry uncompetitive, as it depends greatly on the predictability of freight transport and logistics, he argued.
The other topic discussed at the meeting was energy security. Szijjártó said central Europe’s main concern was still a lack of proper north-south infrastructures. Croatia and Romania should both have done their part by now to ensure reverse gas flows between themselves and Hungary, the minister said. He added, however, that talks on the matter with those countries’ current governments were “promising” and expressed hope that Hungary can be supplied gas through both the Hungarian-Croatian and Hungarian-Romanian interconnectors by 2019.
Szijjártó said it was unacceptable that the European Commission applied “double standards” regarding energy supply by pushing to drop plans to build the South Stream pipeline through which Hungary would have imported Russian gas, while it had not complained about the Nord Stream that supplies Russian gas to Germany.