Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó had talks with Arancha Gonzalez Laya, his Spanish counterpart, in Madrid on Wednesday.
At a joint press conference after the talks, Szijjártó said that another wave of migration could pose serious health and economic risks, and argued that the coronavirus epidemic has hit countries with poor economies, and its spread could lead to increased illegal migration.
Rooted in their geographical location,
Hungary and Spain have different positions on migration, however, there are links as well,
Szijjártó said, adding, for example, that both countries are committed to fighting humans smuggling rings.
Hungary and Spain see eye to eye concerning the principle of delivering assistance where problems arise, and will launch a shared water management project in Morocco to improve supplies for local residents, he said.
Concerning the pandemic in Europe, Szijjártó said that
“Europe must avoid getting in such a vulnerable position as in recent months, therefore some strategic capacities must be developed even if they may seem redundant in ‘peace’ times”.
Spain is Hungary’s 15th greatest trading partner, while 200 Spanish firms employ over 5,000 people in Hungary, Szijjártó said, but added that bilateral ties could offer further opportunities for cooperation.
Hungary will open a consular office in Malaga, Szijjártó announced.
Spanish FM calls for EU criteria for border reopening
Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha Gonzalez Laya on Wednesday asked for agreement within the European Union (EU) on criteria to be applied to arrivals from outside the region to stop imported COVID-19 cases, Xinhua reports.
Spain reopened its borders to travelers from the EU and the Schengen area on June 21, and plans to gradually open them to visitors from outside the region from July 1.
In a television interview with Spanish TV network RTVE on Wednesday, Gonzalez Laya said
Spain was looking to establish “the criteria” that the entire region would use to allow the entry of third-country nationals.
She commented that the EU would have to be “extremely careful” with the arrival of “people from certain countries in the Americas where the coronavirus pandemic has still not reached its peak of infections.”
The 27 countries in the EU are looking to fix epidemiological standards to “start gradually opening” the region’s border, said the minister, adding that in some countries, where the situation with COVID-19 was better than in Europe, citizens would be able to travel, while others would have to wait.
She also explained that the arrival protocols currently being used in Spanish airports are the same as in other major European airports, such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris, but admitted that it is impossible to completely rule out the risk of imported cases of COVID-19.