Foreign Affairs

Macedonia President Says His Country Grateful To Hungary For Efforts To Tackle Migrant Crisis

Hungarian President János Áder discussed the impact of the Balkan region’s stability on that of Europe with his Macedonian counterpart in Budapest. Europe’s security depends on stability in the Balkan region, Áder told a press conference held jointly with Gjorge Ivanov.

Hungarian President János Áder (L) in talks with his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov (R) (photo: Noémi Bruzák - MTI)
Hungarian President János Áder (L) in talks with his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov (R) (photo: Noémi Bruzák – MTI)

János Áder said stability in the Balkans depended on the magnitude of the migration pressure on the region, including Macedonia. It also depends on whether the Balkan countries have a clear perspective of Euro-Atlantic integration, he added. A clear integration strategy and perspective would help stabilise Macedonia and the region as a whole, Áder said. After Macedonia “being fed with empty promises” for about ten years, genuine talks should be launched with that country on NATO and EU accession, he said. Áder expressed thanks to Macedonia for making “efforts beyond its means” to handle the migrant crisis. If the migration pressure mounts, the European Union should not be “close-fisted” when it comes to technical or financial assistance or to raising the number of soldiers patrolling the border, he said.

Macedonian head of state Gjorge Ivanov said after his meeting with Hungarian counterpart János Áder that the European Union and NATO should send a clear message to Macedonia that advances its accession to those organisations. He noted Hungarian-Macedonian cooperation as a good example of how to develop relations between an EU member state and a candidate country. “Macedonia respects Hungary as a partner and a friend which has always selflessly supported its efforts to halt illegal migration,” the president said. He also thanked Hungary for its “open and sincere support” for Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration endeavours. Macedonia is grateful to Hungary for its constructive role in handling the migrant crisis and setting a positive example for regional partnership and cooperation, he said prior to his working visit to Hungary.

Budapest, 2017. március 20. Gjorge Ivanov macedón köztársasági elnök (b) és Áder János államfõ sajtótájékoztatót tart a Sándor-palotában 2017. március 20-án. MTI Fotó: Bruzák Noémi
The two Presidents held a joint press conference in the Sándor Palace of the Buda Castle (photo: Noémi Bruzák – MTI)

But the European Union, he said, had failed to properly manage the crisis. Instead of financial support, it provided merely insufficient equipment for Macedonia, while the country has been spending 1.5 million euros a month on the deployment of its army and police to halt the migrant wave. Ivanov said the Visegrad countries were much more helpful, sending police officers and donations to Macedonia and boosting security cooperation to help the dayto-day handling of the crisis and preventing security risks. He said that the Republic of Macedonia is the first non-EU, nonNATO country to declare a state of emergency to contain illegal migration. Macedonia is handling the migrant issue more effectively than several European states even amidst a deep domestic policy crisis. Paradoxically, it is protecting Europe from an EU member state that is unable to keep the crisis under control and simply directs the refugees to the continent, he said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also discussed bilateral ties and the advancement of Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration with the Macedonian head of state, the prime minister’s press chief said. At their talks, Orbán expressed gratitude for Macedonia’s contribution to the protection of Europe by sealing off the Balkan migrant route. The Prime Minister stressed that Hungary considers Macedonia a friend, the press chief said.

Budapest, 2017. március 20. A Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda által közreadott képen Orbán Viktor miniszterelnök (j) fogadja Gjorge Ivanov macedón köztársasági elnököt az Országház elõtt 2017. március 20-án. MTI Fotó: Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda / Árvai Károly
Gjorge Ivanov was also received by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (photo: Károly Árvai – kormany.hu / MTI)

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; cover photo: Noémi Bruzák – MTI