“In Hungary’s view, illegal migration represents a major security risk to Europe, and the Government regards it as a huge problem that the European Union was unable to handle this phenomenon right at the beginning”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on BBC television’s Hard Talk show.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who spoke to the press while attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, declared. “We can already see the consequences: over 1.5 million illegal migrants have entered the territory of the EU without any form of control, regulation or checks, and that is unacceptable”.
“One of the most serious consequences is the increased risk of terrorism in Europe”, he added.
According to Mr. Szijjártó there are two possibilities: either we encourage people who live in extremely bad conditions to come to Europe, or we provide assistance where it is needed. Hungary is clearly in favour of the second option, the Minister said.
“The Hungarian Government is acting accordingly, and is saying that
the European Union should be providing a much higher level of financial assistance to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraqi Kurdistan.
Because according to Hungary’s standpoint people who have been forced to leave their homes should receive help to enable them to stay as close to their homes as possible, and in good conditions”, Mr. Szijjártó said.
“Hungary has contributed to the implementation of the agreement between the EU and Turkey with millions of euros, in addition to which it has spent of 15 million euros on supporting Christian communities in Syria, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan and Lebanon”, he highlighted.
In reply to a question concerning the fact that according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi Hungarian practices are forcing refugees, including children, to spend long periods of time living in containers surrounded by barbed wire, Mr. Szijjártó said: “Everyone, including the UN’s high-ranking officials, must abide by European regulations. According to the Schengen Regulations it is mandatory for countries that lie along the external order of the European Union to ensure that their borders can only by crossed at official border crossing points and while in possession of the required travel documents”.
“Hungary has 500 kilometres of border that is also the external border of the European Union and the Schengen Area, and Hungary has an obligation to protect that border”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed.
The Minister said claims by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that Hungary’s procedure with relation to refugees violates its obligations according to both international law and EU regulations were “a dreadful allegation”. “Hungary has adhered to all international norms and has fulfilled all of its international obligations. Hungary ordered those who occupied railway stations or blocked motorways to cooperate with the local authorities, register themselves according to EU regulations and go to one of the refugee camps, but they refused to cooperate in any way”, Mr. Szijjártó declared.
With relation to the fact that Hungary is refusing to accept a little fewer than 1300 refugees, Mr. Szijjártó said:
“400 thousand illegal immigrants travelled though the territory of Hungary in 2015, and since then the Hungarian Government has spent 800 million euros on protecting the border of the Schengen Area, but it has received ‘zero assistance’ towards this from the European union”.
“Hungary is taking the ruling of the European Court of Justice and the standpoints of European leaders such as German Chancellor Angel Merkel seriously, but I believe that the challenges posed by illegal migration must also be taken seriously, and we must engage in a rational debate on the subject, instead of an argument based on emotions”, he added.
In reply to criticism of the Act on Higher Education, Mr Szijjártó said: “There are 21 universities with foreign headquarters operating in Hungary, and if the situation is as bad as Mr. (Michael) Ignatieff (Rector of the Central European University) is claiming, then why aren’t we hearing any complaints from the other twenty universities?”
In reply to a question concerning whether “illiberal ambitions and acts” are putting Hungary in opposition to the European Union to such an extent that Fidesz “might as well recommend leaving the EU”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said:
“Hungary’s place is in the European Union, and it can only be strong itself as part of a strong European Union”.
“We are members of the European Union and we will remain members of the European Union”, he emphasised.
You can watch full interview HERE, but BBC iPlayer only works in the UK.
Source: MTI/Hard Talk/Kormany.hu