Foreign Minister To BBC: Hungary Has Received “Zero Help” From The EU To Protect Schengen Border
Tamás Székely 2017.09.21.
Hungary believes that illegal migration poses a serious security threat to Europe, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in an interview with BBC television on Wednesday evening.
Péter Szijjártó told the programme BBC Hardtalk that the Hungarian government considered it highly problematic that the European Union failed to get the migrant situation under control at the start of the crisis. The effects of this can already be seen, Szijjártó said, arguing that more than 1.5 million illegal migrants had entered the EU unchecked, which he called “unacceptable”. The minister cited the threat of terrorism in Europe as one of the gravest consequences of illegal migration. He said Hungary had contributed millions of euros to the implementation of the EU-Turkey migration deal and had spent more than 15 million euros on supporting Christian communities in Syria, the Iraqi Kurdish region and Lebanon.
Commenting on United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi’s remarks that Hungary houses asylum seekers in containers surrounded by barbed wire, Szijjártó said that everyone, including high-ranking UN officials, must respect EU regulations. Under EU rules countries along the external passport-free Schengen border have a duty to ensure that anyone crossing their border does so legally, he said. Szijjártó rejected the high commissioner’s claim that Hungary had violated both international and EU laws with its handling of refugees, arguing that Hungary had complied with all international norms and its international obligations.
Asked about Hungary’s reluctance to take in some 1,300 migrants, Szijjártó said that 400,000 illegal migrants had passed through the country in 2015 and the Hungarian government had since then spent 800 million euros on protecting the Schengen area for which he said it received “zero help” from the EU. The minister said Hungary takes both the European Court of Justice’s decision to dismiss Hungary and Slovakia’s legal challenge against the EU’s migrant resettlement scheme and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position on the matter seriously, adding at the same time, that the challenge posed by illegal migration must also be taken seriously. He said the debate on illegal migration should be based on rationality rather than emotions.