Alpár Kató | Dec 8, 2018 | 2
UN migration package aimed at ‘legalising’ migration, says Hungarian foreign minister
The United Nations global compact for migration is designed to “legalise illegal migration”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told a press conference on Thursday. “This is utterly unacceptable and harms the sovereignty of member states, including Hungary,” he said.
The Hungarian government considers the UN plan an “extremely biased pro-migration document, which is harmful and dangerous”, Szijjártó said.
The UN is about to make the same mistake as the European Union, “which has sought to base its migration policy on mandatory migrant quotas”, the minister said.
“The UN package is even more dangerous because it is a global initiative,” he said.
“Its impact will be greater than a continental policy and poses a risk to the entire globe.”
The main point of contention over the package is whether or not it is compulsory, since the document contains the word “obligatory” eighty times, so the claim that the document only makes recommendations is false, Szijjártó said.
It states, for instance, that countries should undertake to inform migrants about migration routes and run information campaigns for people who want to leave their homelands, he said.
Also, it would require countries to help migrants reunite with their families, he said. Countries will not be able to hold migrants responsible, according to the document, for cooperating with people smugglers even if they cross borders illegally, he said. At the same time, countries will have to offer the same services to migrants as they do to their own citizens, Szijjártó said.
A non-binding document would not insist on national action plans, he said. “It is clearer than day that the global migration compact, just like the originally voluntary migrant quota, would become a point of reference and a binding basis for rulings in international law, he added.
Szijjártó noted that Hungary has decided not to take part in the compact’s adoption process in order to make it clear that the document is not binding in any way whatsoever.
He insisted that
“serious efforts” in Europe are being made “to create mixed societies” and to make people increasingly distant from their own cultural, legal and religious identities.
“For example, we’d like to celebrate Christmas and call it Christmas as we have always done,” the minister said.
He noted that eight countries were refusing to support the package, which, according to the current agenda, may be voted on at the UN General Assembly this year. “Hungary will not vote,” he said.
Meanwhile, responding to a question concerning a statement by Renata Deskoska, Macedonia’s justice minister, in connection with former PM Nikola Gruevski, saying that
Hungary had never in the past had a problem about extraditing anyone to Macedonia and had never questioned Macedonia’s judicial measures,
Szijjártó said that Hungary abstained from commenting on other countries’ domestic matters unless they concerned steps taken against Hungarian minorities or were an attack on Hungary.
He noted, however, that the European Commission’s latest country report on Macedonia expressed concern about the dangers of political influence on the country’s justice system and court proceedings.
Further, the Council of Europe has written about prison conditions in Macedonia that fail to live up to human rights norms, with access to health care and other everyday items denied to inmates who face a violent environment, he added.
The decision to grant asylum to Gruevski was not taken by the government but by the relevant authority independently of the government, Szijjártó said.
He added that Hungary will continue to support Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration process.
Reacting to a tweet by Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations, expressing surprise that Hungary supported Macedonia’s EU membership but did not regard it as a safe country, Szijjártó said Hahn would do better if he opened his ears to the Western Balkans and helped speed up their European integration process. He added that
Hahn’s job performance was “scandalous”.
Asked about Michael Roth, German minister of state for Europe, who said that asylum was not intended as “a gift that heads of government hand out to their mates on the run”, Szijjártó said, “There’s nothing new under the sun”. He added that there was no question concerning Hungary about which Roth “has not said something fantastically wise”, and as usual he was now giving his opinion “on matters about which he has no idea”.