Budapest, August 26 (MTI) – As Hungary “rang the alarm bell” in Brussels in vain, it had no other choice but to take unilateral measures, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog said.
In an interview aired by German public radio Deutschlandfunk, the minister was asked about the Hungarian government’s decision to build a fence along its southern border with Serbia to stem the flow of migrants.
The government indicated several months ago that the wave of refugees heading for the European Union was shifting from the Mediterranean to the Balkans and Hungary was becoming a major transit country. Brussels, however, did not respond to the warning, Balog said.
The government was therefore forced to take unilateral measures which have “raised a few eyebrows” and would hopefully prompt decision makers “to react more quickly” as, currently, there are no responses to the challenge either on a European or a national scale, the minister said.
He said given that hundreds of thousands of people are trying to enter the country illegally, Hungary has no way of deciding who it can and would want to take in. Balog said it was because of this that Hungary was forced to build a temporary border fence “to see who are crossing the border and what they want”.
Asked whether the fence was meant to force migrants to cross through countries other than Hungary toward their destinations, the minister said the route to Hungary goes through EU member states and countries hoping to join the union, yet none of these countries registered the migrants but instead “simply let them pass through”. Balog said these countries had all failed to fulfil their obligations, leaving Hungary “as the first country willing to do so”, which also serves the interests of Germany and Austria as 95 percent of asylum-seekers entering Hungary intend to move on to those countries.
The minister said the commandment to “love thy neighbour” says to help those in need, while citizens expect their government to protect their country’s border, two aspects which Balog said needed to be aligned. He said inciting xenophobia was wrong and that it needed to be made clear that refugees are “just like the rest of us”. Europe, however, must ask itself whether it wants this migration wave, and if so, what sort of consequences it will have on our coexistence in Hungary and in Europe, the minister told Deutschlandfunk.
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