The Visegrad Group will provide 35 million euros to Libya, part of which will be directed to help that country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic, the foreign minister said after a video conference of the EU’s foreign affairs council on Wednesday.
The V4 Hungary forms with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia earlier agreed to allocate the aid to help Libya’s border protection operations, Péter Szijjártó told an online press conference.
At today’s meeting, however, they agreed on a separate allocation to help prevent the pandemic from triggering a new wave of illegal migration, he said, adding that in unstable regions hundreds of thousands of people are considering to head for Europe.
The participants agreed, he said, that Europe could not be safe until the situation caused by the virus remains serious in the regions surrounding the European Union.
This is why the situation in Africa and the western Balkans was also addressed, he said.
Hungary has so far provided support to six countries in the western Balkans, including consignments of face masks and protective clothing to boost their defence capabilities against a new wave of illegal migration, Szijjártó said. He noted that Hungary has so far received more than 80 million face masks from China.
“Hungary took appropriate anti-coronavirus measures early enough to become one of the most successful countries in Europe to slow down the spread of the virus,” he said.
Szijjártó said Ukraine was another issue on the council’s agenda. He reiterated Hungary’s position that Ukraine should adhere to basic EU values that include the protection of minorities and their rights if it seeks to intensify cooperation with the EU. Talks with the Ukrainian partners were encouraging, Szijjártó said, adding hope that “action would follow words”.
He noted Hungary’s support for the refurbishment of a health-care institution in eastern Ukraine and the donation of 100,000 face masks and other protective gear to the western Transcarpathia region.
Featured photo illustration by Mátyás Borsos/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade