Budapest, July 7 (MTI) – Ad-hoc checks recently introduced by Austria on its border with Hungary are “unjustified”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday.
Austria reinstated strict border checks on Monday in a bid to catch people smugglers, bringing traffic on the Hungarian-Austrian border to a standstill on multiple occasions. Hungarian authorities later also began checking people entering Hungary from Austria.
Szijjártó said border controls were needed on Hungary’s southern borders with Serbia and Croatia but not on the border with Austria. He said that if Austria “truly wants to protect the Schengen zone”, it should help protect the bloc’s external borders.
Regarding Hungary’s border checks, the minister said the country had a right to implement them. He said it was “strange” that while “tens of thousands of Hungarians are suffering” because of Austria’s decision to introduce checks between two Schengen area member states, Austria “is the one complaining” about Hungary.
On Tuesday, Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka criticised Hungary for its implementation of border checks, also calling them unjustified.