A new agreement reached in Malta on the redistribution of migrants rescued at sea raises “serious security questions” for Europe, the Hungarian prime minister’s chief security advisor said in Rome on Wednesday.
Speaking to MTI on the sidelines of a conference on stopping human smuggling on the Mediterranean Sea, György Bakondi said Hungary was ready to cooperate with Italy in the repatriation of illegal migrants, but refused to be a partner in migrant redistribution.
Commenting on the Malta agreement, Bakondi pointed out that under the deal, migrants would be redistributed across Europe immediately, before their asylum procedures are completed in the country they first arrived in. He said this approach “doesn’t seem realistic” and raised serious security questions when it came to Europe’s ability to deport or send migrants back to their country of origin.
“Once someone has entered [Europe], it is very hard, sometimes impossible, to send them back to where they came from,” Bakondi said, adding that upholding security was a shared European interest.
He said Italy’s ability to guarantee the security of its seas and shores was in Hungary’s political and national security interests.
“We are ready to provide any help necessary to our Italian partners with the fulfillment of their border protection tasks,” Bakondi said. “We contribute to the support of migrants’ countries of origin . and in the repatriation of migrants who are in Europe illegally,” he added.
“But there’s one thing we’re not open to, and that is the redistribution of migrants according to a voluntary or mandatory quota scheme,” he said.
The conference held in the upper house of the Italian parliament, which Bakondi addressed, was organised by the right-wing League party.