Hungary has summoned France’s charge d’affaires over remarks about Hungary’s border policy by Laurent Fabius. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that it was “outrageous and perplexing” that his French counterpart criticised Hungary for its policy of sealing off illegal entry points along its border with Serbia. Szijjártó told news agency MTI that “some people in Europe still cannot seem to understand” that Hungary is under “dramatic” pressure by migration from the Western Balkans.
It is important to keep Schengen rules that clearly define each country’s obligations, and these include protecting the external borders of Hungary and the EU, Szijjártó said, adding that a lack of strategy that characterises EU policies in connection with migration could have a dramatic effect on the continent and “instead of passing baseless criticism … we should focus on finding a joint solution for Europe.” Fabius said in an interview that the behaviour of countries in eastern Europe in connection with migration was “scandalous”, and he especially criticised Hungary for its border policy in connection with the influx of migrants. He said it demonstrated that Hungary did not respect common European values.
Meanwhile the Hungarian government has asked Germany to clarify the legal situation regarding the movement of illegal migrants within the European Union. Government spokesman András Giró-Szász said that over the past few days the Hungarian government has acted in full observance of EU and Hungarian laws in situations that emerged at Budapest railway stations and other places. EU laws clearly state that the Schengen borders must be protected while at the same time they also state that people from non-EU countries can only leave an EU country if they hold valid passports and visas to the target country.
However, Germany has, in the past few days, demonstrated a more “lenient” attitude towards illegal migrants believed to have arrived from Syria, Giró-Szász said. News of this stance has sparked hope in migrants and the situation is unclear, he said. On Sunday migrants camping at Budapest’s Keleti railway station staged a protest and they chanted, in English, “Germany, Germany”, indicating the destination of their choice. The migrants complained that they held valid tickets for trains to Germany, but are not being allowed further by the Hungarian police. They also objected to their identities being recorded by the authorities and said a single meal a day was insufficient.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photo: Zoltán Máthé – MTI