It is time for eastern and western Europe to “put aside political correctness and hypocrisy” and work together in countering the threat of terrorism for the sake of protecting the continent, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Europe is facing the biggest terrorist threat of all time as a result of many mistakes made in European politics, Péter Szijjártó told MTI on the sidelines of an informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Mauerbach, near Vienna.
“The gravest of these is that 1.5 million people have arrived on the continent unchecked and unidentified as a result of a hypocritical and flawed migration policy,” Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó noted that the 15 major terrorist attacks committed in Europe since the Paris attacks in November 2015 killed a total of 315 people and injured some 1,000. “It’s time for the European institutions in Brussels to start focusing on the real issues and dealing with the real problems and start to act on the threat of terrorism,” the minister said.
With the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group losing ground against the international coalition fighting it, terrorists will start to employ new tactics, making the threat of terrorism in Europe worse, Szijjártó added. Among the tactics terrorists are likely to favour, he mentioned the recruitment of lone wolf terrorists, the activation of sleeper cells and the use of chemical and biological weapons.
He said that of the 11,000 foreign fighters fighting for IS, 2,500 are EU citizens. “With IS losing ground it is realistic that these people will return to Europe, which will mean a new kind of threat” for the continent, Szijjártó said. Europe must therefore do everything it can to protect itself, he added.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Szijjártó had bilateral talks with Igor Crnadak, foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and voiced support for that country’s European and NATO integration. He said Bosnia-Herzegovina played a crucial role in maintaining stability in the Western Balkans, an important aspect in terms of Hungary’s national security. “Since Bosnia is one of the most important supporters of NATO operations outside NATO members, they deserve promotion in the process of their NATO integration,” Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó also met his Kyrgyz counterpart Erlan Abdildajev and signed a cooperation agreement to set up a mixed economic committee for the two countries. Hungary’s Eximbank has set up a pool of 34 million euros to provide loans to Hungarian businesses active on the Kyrgyz market, he said after the talks.
The OSCE ministers are discussing conflicts in the OSCE region, migration, terrorism, the state of human rights, the rule of law and democracy at the meeting in Mauerbach.