Budapes (MTI) – If European leaders had listened to Hungary a year ago, the migrant crisis would not have escalated to the point that it has, Hungary’s foreign minister told MTI on Friday.
Péter Szijjártó responded to comments German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel made to German public television channel ARD. The German politician said the migrant crisis had escalated because Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had decided not to observe the European Union’s asylum laws and refused to take in refugees. Gabriel said that it was because of the Hungarian government’s migrant policy that Germany decided it was better for them to take in refugees than to leave them stranded.
Gabriel said it was Orbán’s violation of EU law that led to the crisis and not Germany’s decision to take in migrants. He said the only error Germany made in its handling of Europe’s migrant inflow was that it had overestimated other European leaders’ willingness to share the burden of resolving the crisis. If one million migrants would have been distributed among EU member states, nothing would have changed, the vice chancellor said.
Szijjártó said in response that “certain European leaders still try to paint false claims as reality.” Contrary to Gabriel’s claims, not only did Hungary not violate EU laws, but it is the only country that observes EU regulations by protecting the Schengen zone’s external borders, he said.
The minister said Hungary was always willing to admit genuine refugees but believes that people who leave so-called safe countries like Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia or Austria to get to Germany are not refugees but illegal economic migrants. “Hungary refuses to admit illegal economic migrants,” he insisted.
Szijjártó said more and more countries are beginning to realise that Hungary’s solution to the crisis is the only viable one.