The number of migrants attempting to illegally enter the European Union through the Western Balkans is rising rapidly and has exceeded 82,000 to date this year, Hungary’s foreign ministry cited the minister, Péter Szijjártó, as saying at a Vienna conference on migration on Tuesday.
Attempts to cross the border are recorded day by day in Hungary, he said, noting that the government had spent 1.2 billion euros on defending the borders since 2015.
Szijjártó noted that six years ago the European Union had harshly criticised Hungary’s government for erecting a fence along the southern border, with some going as far as to compare the country to the darkest dictatorial regimes of the 20th century.
“Now the same countries are roundly praising those who are building fences to defend the EU’s external borders,” he said.
Szijjártó expressed concern over “irresponsible statements by Brussels institutions and western European politicians” that can be interpreted as “an invitation” by those heading for Europe for reasons whatsoever.
The situation is even more tense than it was in 2015 as the four million internally displaced persons who most probably wish to leave Afghanistan are expected to increase migratory pressure, he said.
The minister reiterated that mandatory migrant quotas should be discarded once and for all, and no one should encourage potential migrants to leave their homeland.
“To be honest, sometimes I don’t know if the Brussels bureaucrats want to halt or encourage migration,” he said.
Szijjártó said that migration policy should remain under national control, with all member states having the right to decide whom to allow to enter their territory.
Featured photo via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page