Answering a question at a press briefing on another topic on Monday, Szijjártó said that Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz “was right” to say that migration was “stoppable” if the EU were prepared to take appropriate action, he said.
Kurz drew criticism from Chancellor Christian Kern and the press for saying in an interview with Austrian daily Oesterreich that Italy should cease transferring migrants to the mainland by ferry after saving them from the Mediterranean. The migration route on the Mediterranean via Libya and the Mediterranean to Italy should be sealed, Kurz said, and Austria is “preparing to defend” the Brenner Pass, the most significant border crossing between the two countries. “The closing of the Western Balkan migrant route has proven [sealing the route] is possible”, Kurz said.
Szijjártó called for the revival of an Austro-Italian initiative to get the EU to contribute to the protection of the southern Libyan borders while creating hotspots on Libyan soil to vet asylum seekers before they reach Europe. The EU should also aim to stop the boats before they leave the north African country, he said.
Szijjártó said that “Kurz is subject to robust attacks” due to his recent firm stand on migration. That Kurz places the protection of Austria and his people in first place is “perfectly understandable”, Szijjártó said.
Featured image: MTI