A Hungarian- Serbian-Austrian summit was held in Budapest. The main topic of the talks was joint action against illegal migration.
The situation regarding illegal migration is becoming increasingly difficult, the facts and figures are becoming more and more alarming, yet not enough attention is paid to this problem, the Hungarian prime minister said at a joint press conference with the Austrian chancellor and the Serbian president.
The current Hungarian-Serbian-Austrian summit is the beginning of a longer series of negotiations, Viktor Orbán said. A follow-up meeting will be held soon in Belgrade to discuss concrete steps and, if necessary, the conditions for these measures. A third meeting on the way forward is to follow in Vienna.
“We are now trying to face the situation and develop measures. The economic downturn and the food crisis caused by the war and sanctions will also increase the pressure of illegal migration,” Viktor Orbán stressed. The Western Balkan route is the most affected, he underlined.
These three countries protect not only themselves, but also all of Europe, as Hungary fulfills its obligations as a Schengen member.
“The goal is to move the defense line as far south as possible. It is in the interests of all of us to move this line further south,” Orbán said.
The prime minister pointed out that Hungary has already supported Austria, Serbia and North Macedonia, but they consider further measures necessary.
The Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, pointed out that the number of illegal immigrants was increasing and so is the number of people coming to Serbia from Russia: so far, he said, a total of 17,000 people have entered from the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and that includes only those who have received one-year residence permits. This is a huge burden for a small country like Serbia.
Vucic also said that as of January 1, they will face the EU’s visa policy, which means it will be more difficult to travel to Western countries.
“We will try to support the relevant law enforcement agencies of all three countries by working together and joining forces. In a few days, in Belgrade, we will think about our joint agreement, on the basis of which an action plan will be created and how we can implement it,” he said.
At the press conference, the Austrian chancellor said that the meeting is an important event for Austria, as the migration issue affects Austria as much as Hungary and Serbia. The goal is to do everything possible to stop illegal migration.
Karl Nehammer stressed that it is important to do everything to prevent and fight migration from Serbia and Montenegro. The Austrian Chancellor also highlighted the international police cooperation and thanked the countries for their cooperation.
The Chancellor said that these conferences will help Serbia to reduce migration pressure on the North Macedonian and Serbian borders.
Asked by a journalist what message Hungary and Austria are sending to Brussels with the joint agreement, the Austrian chancellor said that the Commission should take the necessary steps to create real protection against migration and conclude readmission agreements with the countries from which migrants come. He stressed:
There is an urgent need to think about how to change the asylum system in the EU, as it has failed and the consequences must be borne by nation states.
Via Ungarn Heute, Featured photo: Zoltán Fischer/Prime Minister’s Press Office/MTI