Europe must significantly boost the protection of its borders and step up preparations against terrorism, Hungary’s foreign minister said in southern Spain’s Malaga on Tuesday, arguing that increased activity from the Islamic State terrorist group and radicalization stemming from looming food shortages could pose a significant threat to the continent.
Europe faces a number of security challenges, Péter Szijjártó told a UN counter-terrorism conference according to a foreign ministry statement, citing the war in Ukraine and instability in the continent’s southern neighborhood. Europe must not allow the Ukraine war to fully divert its attention from what is happening to its south, the minister said.
Szijjártó said the war in Ukraine also posed a significant challenge in terms of the fight against terrorism after the Islamic State had called on its followers to take advantage of the war and stage attacks in Europe.
Another important factor, he said, was that Russia and Ukraine account for 15-16 percent of global grain exports, which was expected to drop significantly in the coming months.
This will lead to problems in food supply in places where the security situation is already unstable, Szijjártó said. That could cause further destabilization in Africa and certain countries of the Middle East, leading to the spread of extremist ideologies and terrorism, he added.
The minister said the UN’s counter-terrorism efforts should be strengthened significantly, otherwise Europe would face severe threats of terrorism in the near future. Szijjártó said the UN should allocate more financial resources towards counter-terrorism.
Szijjártó also said the international community should work to create secure conditions locally instead of encouraging people in danger to leave their homes. This would prevent the emergence of new migration waves, he said.
Featured photo illustration by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI