“People who do not equate border protection with solidarity do not understand Europe’s current situation, and solidarity that refuses to take into account border protection is not true solidarity”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared at a press conference on Monday.
The Minister explained that Hungary not only made and continues to make an effort to assure the protection of its borders to defend the country, but also because border protection is an EU obligation and is prescribed by the Schengen regulations.
According to Mr. Szijjártó, although the European Commission often states that the EU does not fund security fences, the fence is a good thing and it represents the solution, because it is only possible to prevent the daily inflow of tens of thousands of immigrants via physical protection. “The fence is the heart and centre of defence”, he declared.
“The EC’s Commissioner for Migration Policy and former Greek Minister of Defence, Dimitris Avramopoulos, also defended the construction of the security fence along the Turkish-Greek border at the time, but these days he is criticizing the Hungarian fence”, Mr. Szijjártó recalled.
“A budget of 1.5 billion euros was earmarked to assist Greece with handling illegal immigration, while Italy and Bulgaria are receiving 740 million euros and 260 million euros, respectively, for this purpose, meaning countries in the front line do indeed receive funding based on solidarity”, he said. “Hungary has incurred over 800 million euros in costs and expenses relating to border protection tasks, and we are justified in expecting the EU to refund part of this expenditure based on solidarity”, he said.
Security and solidarity “should go hand-in-hand”, one cannot exist without the other, Mr, Szijjártó declared. The mandatory resettlement quota system is “nonsense”, because it is nonsense to ask a country to exacerbate a phenomenon that undermines its own security on its own territory in the name of solidarity, he explained.
According to the Foreign Minister, the security fence along the country’s southern border is protecting Hungary and Western Europe, and accordingly “we are justified to ask for solidarity on the part of our Western friends”. It is damaging for the European Commission in the long term that European institutions are still “scheming” to find ways of bringing in and distributing illegal immigrants, he said.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will be visiting Budapest next week to meet with the ministers of foreign affairs and trade of the Visegrád Group (V4) to discuss the possible economic outcomes of Brexit, Mr. Szijjártó noted.
In reply to a question, the Foreign Minister said: North Korea is one of the three greatest dangers to the world today, and it is good that the American President and other leaders are taking this risk more seriously than ever before. “The situation has been somewhat underestimated in the past in the international arena, but it has now become clear that this is one of the most serious threats, and that accordingly the strictest possible international measures must be taken against North Korea”, he declared.
As we wrote today, responding to the German chancellor Merkel, who said in a recent election debate that Hungary’s premier had failed to show solidarity by refusing to help refugees in 2015, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó countered on Monday that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had ordered the authorities to uphold Schengen rules in all circumstances.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI