Hungary and Poland continue to oppose “EU-sponsored migrant settlement quotas” because they believe repeated waves of migration pose a health risk in Europe, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said in Warsaw on Thursday.
The European Union faces two challenges, he said, referring to “the extremely slow acquisition of vaccines” and “the health risk implied by imminent waves of migration”, he told MTI after a one-day visit to Poland.
Szijjártó slammed “efforts in the EU to impose mandatory migrant quotas on member states”.
“Allowing hundreds of thousand non-vaccinated people to enter Europe would give a fresh impetus to the pandemic”, he said. Meanwhile, he added, vaccine deliveries to Europe “are much slower than expected”.
Szijjártó noted that the European Commission had recently agreed with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to facilitate the inflow of migrants into Europe from those countries.
Szijjártó said he had agreed with Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski “on thwarting and vetoing to the greatest possible extent” the EU’s related efforts.
The minister and his Polish partners agreed on “preventing their countries and central Europe as a whole from adopting the new type of migrant settlement quota and allowing new waves of migration.”
They also agreed to keep one another updated about delays in vaccine deliveries.
Emphasising the importance of putting and end to the coronavirus epidemic and lifting the restrictions that cause huge losses to both economies, the minister pledged to intensify international talks on accelerating vaccine deliveries to Hungary.
Szijjártó noted that Poland is Hungary’s fourth biggest trading partner and the tenth major destination of Hungarian capital investment, with pharma Richter, oil and gas company MOL and construction firm Cordia playing an increasing role in the Polish economy.
Szijjártó also met counterpart Zbigniew Rau in Warsaw and held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Jarosław Gowin. At the latter meeting, the sides “welcomed that their respective countries’ persistent position regarding the EU seven-year budget framework and the so-called rule of law mechanism proved to be successful,” Szijjártó said on Facebook. He added that the two countries set up a economic mixed chamber last year.
featured image: Szijjártó in talks in Poland; via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page