szijjártó brussels
Photo: MTI

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Monday accused Brussels and “certain western European EU member states” of “openly siding with people smugglers”, arguing that an “internationally organised” and politically-backed human smuggling operation was being carried out on the Mediterranean.

“Brussels and certain western member states of the European Union have revealed themselves,” Szijjártó told Hungarian reporters during a break in a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

“Because while it has become clear that migration can be stopped not only on land but also on the Mediterranean Sea, they are continuously and openly encouraging human smuggling.”

The minister said it had become clear that Brussels and certain western EU member states had an interest in having more and more migrants come to Europe.

Szijjártó cautioned that “the forces organising migration are on the offensive again”, adding that “the EU member states supporting this have openly sided with the people smugglers.”

He said Europe had two options as regards migration: the continent could either choose to “side with the people smugglers” or require that everyone enter the continent legally.

Szijjártó said

human smuggling and support of “civil groups involved in human smuggling activities” would set off new migration waves towards Europe.

“These policies encourage people to pay human smugglers and board ships, since a civilian human smuggling vessel will save them anyway and take them to an Italian or a Maltese port,” the minister said.

He added that a new migration wave “would be a good excuse” for arguments to be brought forth again in favour of a migrant distribution mechanism based on quotas.

Member states that want to distribute migrants amongst themselves “are playing with fire”, he said, arguing that “they are endangering Europe’s Europeanness, future, culture and identity.”

On another subject, Szijjártó said Hungary saw Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s new president, as a “new hope” and hoped that his recent encouraging statements become reality.

If the new president’s words are reflected in actions and if the Transcarpathian Hungarian community regains its rights, Hungary will be happy to get back to cooperating closely with Ukraine, Szijjártó said.

Hungary sees a possibility for this with Zelensky’s taking office, he said, adding, at the same time, that “there are many whose interests run counter to good Ukrainian-Hungarian relations.”

Meanwhile, Szijjártó slammed as “unprecedented, unacceptable and un-European” a series of searches carried out by Ukrainian authorities at the homes of the leaders of Transcarpathian Hungarian organisations on Monday morning.

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