The European Union has “fully delivered the continent” to illegal migrants through “practically handing them invitations to Europe”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told MTI on the sidelines of a conference in Slovenia’s Bled on Tuesday.
The EU’s migration policy must be changed, Szijjártó said. He added that “the only protection” against illegal migration was provided by the EU-Turkey agreement.
Should that agreement fail for some reason, hundreds of thousands and millions will flood Europe and the Western Balkans will certainly not be able to stop them”
Stopping illegal migration requires protection of the borders, but “the EU has done nothing to that end south of Hungary. Moreover, it has encouraged hundreds of thousands to violate and cross the borders,” Szijjártó said. Rather than “advocating the permeability of borders” the community should concentrate on border control, he added.
As a further measure, Szijjártó called for accelerating the European integration of countries in the Western Balkans. The sooner Serbia and Montenegro join the EU the more likely it will be that illegal migrants can be stopped before they reach Hungary’s borders, he said. Integrating the Balkans equals shifting the EU’s line of protection further south, the minister added.
In recent months the pressure of migration has again increased in the Western Balkans, Szijjártó warned, adding that as many as 224,000 illegal migrants arrived in Turkey in the first eight months of this year, and some 6,000 arrived in Greece over the past two months.
On the sidelines of the conference, Szijjártó had bilateral talks with his Spanish, Slovenian and Finnish counterparts, as well as with the general secretary of the Mediterranean Union.
Featured photo illustration by Mitko Sztojcsev/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade