German, Austrian, and Visegrad Four Interior Ministers in Szeged
By protecting its external borders, Hungary is not only safeguarding its own public order and security, but also that of other EU countries, the Hungarian Interior Minister said in Szeged on Monday.
Speaking at a joint press conference of the Visegrad Four countries (Slovakia, Hungary, Czechia, Poland) with the German and Austrian interior ministers, Sándor Pintér said that effective Hungarian action against illegal migration would ensure that the region would achieve adequate public security and that there would be no crimes committed by “uninvited guests”.
Interior Minister Sándor Pintér. Photo: MTI/Lehoczky Péter
During the meeting, he said, the visiting interior ministers were briefed on Hungary’s efforts to protect its external Schengen borders, the international cooperation it has established and its future plans. Sándor Pintér said that he was confident of a consensus agreement, and
Hungary is ready to accept proposals, but cannot accept mandatory relocation of migrants onto its territory, which it considers a sovereignty issue.
Vít Rakusan, Interior Minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the presidency of the Visegrad Four, said that migration is a serious challenge for all countries that requires joint action. In the face of illegal migration along the Western Balkan route, law enforcement agencies will continue to cooperate with third countries, said Vít Rakusan, recalling that the Czech police have been involved in border protection since 2015. This assistance will continue in 2024, he said.
Internal border controls are not the right solution, the key to the security of countries and their populations is the protection of external borders, said Vít Rakusan, adding that a common European solution is needed, but finding a compromise is not easy.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that many member states had introduced internal border controls in response to the increase in secondary migration. However, all member states want open borders within the European Union. “Joint action is needed against people smuggling,” she said. The German interior minister also stressed that
the protection of human rights is the basis for European cooperation, especially in the field of migration policy. She emphasized that we have never been so close to the introduction of a common EU asylum system, but time is pressing as the 2024 European Parliament elections approach.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. Photo: MTI/Lehoczky Péter
Gerhard Karner, Austria’s Interior Minister, also stressed the need for a coordinated response to illegal migration and to strengthen the protection of external borders. And the visit to Hungary showed that the protection of the external border – involving Austrian, Czech and Slovak police officers – can be done effectively. Cooperation is also needed against people smuggling and organized crime, the Austrian minister said, adding that “it is not only the small fish that need to be caught, but also the big sharks who control the organizations”.
Slovak Interior Minister Matús Sutaj-Estok said Slovakia was ready to help protect the external borders. He said that the weather and the action of the Serbian authorities made the situation fortunate for the moment, but that it was necessary to prepare for spring and the renewed increase in migratory pressure. Polish deputy interior minister Bartosz Grodecki, while arguing for the importance of protecting the external borders and for an effective and coordinated fight against people smuggling and organized crime groups, said the Schengen area was a fundamental value of the European Union that must be preserved.
Via MTI; Featured Image: Facebook Vít Rakusan