Hungary has not accepted and will not take in any migrants, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in an interview to Saturday’s issue of daily Magyar Hírlap, emphasising the difference between accepting refugees based on the Geneva Refugee Convention and illegal mass immigration.
Szijjártó said Hungary complies with all international agreements including the one on the protection of the Schengen borders and the Geneva Convention. Those who received subsidiary protection submitted their application and had it assessed by the authorities in accordance with the international regulations. They can stay in Hungary as long as they are under threat in their home country but after that danger has passed, they must return home, the minister said.
Szijjártó said this had nothing to do with illegal migration as the Geneva Convention does not concern illegal mass immigration and has nothing to do with the redistribution quota scheme either.
“Our position is clear: we have not accepted and will not take in any migrants because no illegal migrants are allowed into Hungary … This is why we built a fence and spent one billion euros on border protection and this is why we oppose the quota scheme,” the minister said.
Szijjártó also told the paper that there was now a major opportunity to rebuild US-Hungarian political relations. While trade and defence relations have been excellent, “political relations were rather poor”, he said. However, newly appointed Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell considers US-central European relations to be of strategic importance.
Szijjártó said he had conducted several hours of talks with Wess Mitchell during his latest visit to Washington, discussing, among other things, genuine bilateral foreign policy issues.
“In the past eight years, this was the first time I felt that we were treated fairly, with mutual respect, as an important partner, rather than a small central European country, whose representative came to Washington to be lectured. This is a completely new attitude,” the minister said.