Budapest, March 10 (MTI) – Hungary urges the European Union to devote funding towards measures in the Balkans to protect against illegal migration, the government office chief, János Lázár, said on Thursday. The government is “not unsympathetic” to Turkey receiving more substantial funds, however, he added.
Lázár told a press conference that after Monday’s EU-Turkey summit, Hungary’s government will stand up for Ukraine’s bid to have visa conditions eased. This should be treated as a priority, he said. The government will support this standpoint at next week’s European Council meeting, Lázár said.
Further, should the European Commission make a proposal concerning the EU’s mandatory quota regime at that meeting – or on a restructuring of the refugee system – Hungary will put forward its own proposal, he added.
The government will agree on what this proposal should contain at an extraordinary meeting next Wednesday, he said.
The plan to exchange immigrants for Syrian refugees raises several questions and has triggered protest from several EU states and even human rights organisations, Lázár said.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán regards the blocking of the Balkan route the most important outcome of Monday’s summit, Lázár said, adding that Hungary had already proposed this a year ago. The government has declared a state of emergency due to these developments, Lázár said.
Orbán and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico were the two participants at the summit who initiated suspending the talks “thus blocking the acceptance of the proposal put forward”, Lázár said, adding that whether this can be called “vetoing” or not has sparked up “a not too sophisticated debate”. Orban blocked the decision, the minister insisted. Prime ministers of the Visegrad grouping of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia had agreed beforehand that they would jointly ask for the negotiations to be postponed, he added.
On the subject of reception centres in the country, Lázár said it was up to the interior minister to decide whether the camp in Nagyfa, near the border, would be left open, but the government in general is considering closing reception centres at the request of locals. Temporary shelters could be set up elsewhere, he added.
Migrants staying in Hungary temporarily must work and “whatever legal protection they get they cannot receive larger welfare support than a Hungarian citizen would,” he said.