Szijjártó held talks with Latvian Deputy Prime Minister Arvils Aseradens, who also serves as the economy minister, and Edgars Rinkevics, his Latvian counterpart. He also met members of Latvia’s parliament who had signed a declaration in support of Hungary after the European Commission had launched an infringement procedure against it and two other central European countries over the issue of migrant distribution quotas.
Hungary will not let illegal migrants into its territory and will protect Europe by defending its southern border, Szijjártó said.
The minister told MTI by phone after his talks that he and his negotiating partners were in agreement that protecting the EU’s external borders was an important show of solidarity towards Europe.
The minister said he and his partners were also in agreement that EU member states are “entitled to” cohesion funds.
“We consider it unacceptable and a form of blackmail that certain European countries and their leaders are proposing to reduce or cut entirely EU funds we are entitled to just because we don’t agree on certain issues,” Szijjártó said. “EU funds are not humanitarian aid … we are entitled to them since all EU member states, including the central European ones, opened their markets to western European economic players and companies,” he added.
Szijjártó and his negotiating partners agreed that border protection measures must remain a priority. Hungary and Latvia both protect the external borders of the EU and the passport-free Schengen zone, he said, adding that Latvia has also decided to install a fence on its borders with Belarus and Russia.
The minister said that he and his negotiating partners were in agreement that protecting the EU’s external borders was an important show of solidarity towards Europe. “We reject the western European stance that countries which resettle illegal migrants are the only ones demonstrating solidarity,” Szijjártó said.
Both countries spend a significant amount of money on protecting the EU’s external borders, stressing that those funds could also be spent on economic development. “This shows that we have to consider border protection an important way of demonstrating solidarity,” he argued.