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Hungarian President Áder: Migrant Crisis Must Be Solved By The International Community

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2015.10.08.

All members of the international community must take steps to solve the migrant crisis, Hungarian President János Áder said after meeting his Croatian counterpart.

President Áder discussed the migrant crisis and bilateral relations with Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who arrived in Hungary on a three-day official visit on Tuesday. Speaking at a joint press conference, Mr. Áder said the EU’s mandatory quota system will not be a solution for the migration crisis since it will not address its essence. But since a quota system is now on the agenda, not only European quotas, but global quotas would be needed, given that several other countries are capable of accommodating migrants, he said.

Hungary has always stood by Croatia

Ms. Grabar-Kitarović, his Croatian counterpart, said “it appeared as if a shadow has been cast over Hungarian-Croatian relations.” However, she expressed agreement with the Hungarian president that the migration crisis should not impair the two countries’ ties. Grabar-Kitarović noted the significance of Hungarian-Croatian friendship and that “Hungary has always stood by Croatia”, as well as expressing her condolences to Áder over the passing of former President Árpád Göncz.

The two heads of state agreed that the migrant crisis is a humanitarian, criminal and security issue, and outlined the short, medium and long-term tasks required for handling it. The Hungarian president said short-term tasks in managing the crisis must include border protection, ensuring checks of all migrants entering any EU member state and caring for those in need. He said medium-term tasks should include strengthening the Greek-Turkish border, setting up new refugee camps in safe countries, increasing EU spending on the camps, improving cooperation between humanitarian groups, boosting international police cooperation to thwart human smuggling rings and strengthening cooperation among intelligence services to reduce the risk of terrorism. Mr. Áder said long-term tasks should include the UN restoring the aid provided for migrants to its previous level and the EU providing constant funding for the operation of refugee camps. Áder expressed hope that there would soon be peace in the “crisisaffected region” and called for an international relief fund to be set up for Syria.

In turn, Ms. Grabar-Kitarović said the solutions to the “long-term problems” that the crisis poses could be eliminating poverty in the Middle East and defeating the Islamic State militant group. She said the EU’s development policies need to be reformed in a way that they improve living standards in the migrants’ countries of origin so that people are not forced to leave their homes, adding that such a goal requires cooperation with the United States and Turkey. She stressed the importance of setting up hotspots outside the EU and distinguishing between economic migrants and refugees. The migrant crisis is not the problem of Hungary or Croatia alone, but that of the EU and countries where it originated from, she added. When asked about the fate of the train which was sent across the border by Croatian authorities with 1 000 migrants on board three weeks ago, Mr. Áder said he hoped that it would be sent back to Croatia as soon as possible. The president expressed hope that “this will end up being the most serious problem Hungarian-Croatian relations have to face”. The presidents said their meeting also touched on the current state of bilateral relations including economic and cultural ties.  Ms.Grabar-Kitarović mentioned the Hungarian minority in Croatia and said her country aims to guarantee their rights in accordance with “the highest international standards”.

photo: Noémi Bruzák/MTI