Valletta (MTI) – Unless the external borders of the European Union are strengthened, the flood of migrants could lead to walls going up between EU member states, Hungary’s justice minister, László Trócsányi, said in an interview to the Sunday issue of The Times of Malta.
“In 2015 Europe was perhaps naive but it is now confronting reality … We believe in the border-free Schengen zone, but for this to work properly the EU’s external borders must be strengthened,” he said.
In the interview given on the sidelines of a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers, he said the fence on Hungary’s southern border not only protected the country but the rest of Europe too.
“We are committed to protecting the external borders … If we don’t deal with security appropriately we will see that walls will emerge between members of the EU,” he said.
Addressing criticism of Hungary’s fence, Trocsanyi noted that Spain maintained walls round its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in north Africa.
Referring to Hungary’s role in the dismantling of the Iron Curtain, he said Hungarian valued freedom that ensued after the Communism disintegrated. “The freedom of movement within the EU … is important for us. This is one of the most important added values of being a member of the EU.” But this freedom could only be maintained by ensuring the external borders are protected, he added.
Hungary agrees with the Maltese EU presidency that reception centres should be maintained in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and other countries for migrants who make an asylum claim, the paper noted.
Asked about whether Hungary worries that the majority of migrants are Muslim, the minister noted that the countries of central and eastern Europe have no colonial experience. “Unlike other EU member states, we don’t have any experience of integrating citizens from beyond the borders of the EU. We believe in preserving Europe’s Christian roots; but this does not mean that we believe that those refugees who deserve protection should not get it.”
Trocsanyi, stating that he quoted Angela Merkel, said that multiculturalism in Europe had not been a success. He argued that arrivals in the 1960s and 1970s had integrated well, but the present wave of arrivals are more interested in preserving values and norms that are at odds with European ones.
The minister insisted that the political mainstream cannot sweep integration problems under the carpet. “If the political mainstream does not want to speak about it then it will create space for the extreme right wing to fill,” he said.