The European Union’s external borders can only be protected completely if migrant reception and collection centres known as hot spots are located outside of the bloc, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told public television.
Szijjártó said that Hungary cautiously welcomed the decision to abandon mandatory migrant quotas following the recent European Union summit, noting that the European Council had already once decided the scrap the quotas only for its decision to be overridden by EU interior ministers.
The decision to abandon mandatory migrant quotas is a “victory for the Visegrad countries”, he said, adding that it was a “significant achievement” for the Hungary-led V4 that EU member states would not have to take in migrants from planned hot spots.
Another achievement, he said, was that “the focus of EU politicians has shifted from mandatory quotas to protecting the borders”. Border protection would not be complete unless the hot spots were set up outside the bloc. Pro-migrant NGOs and human smuggling rings should not be the ones to decide “with whom we live”, he said. Szijjártó also warned of a possible increase in migration pressure after Turkey quit an agreement with Greece under which it took back migrants. Hungary’s priority, he said, was for the line of defence “to be as far south as possible”.
Hungary to continue fight against organisers of migration
Hungary expects the Austrian presidency of the European Union to introduce a migration policy that represents a complete departure from Brussels’ policies and the Hungarian government will offer all its support to this, FM Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó reacted to a speech by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz delivered in the European Parliament where Kurz said Austria would work towards creating security in Europe and considers the fight against illegal migration one of its most important tasks.
Szijjártó told the press that after the latest meeting of the European Council, new political battles could be expected and the fight must continue against illegal migration and those that organise it.
As long as Europe is not willing and able to protect its external borders and hot spots are planned to be set up on European territory, the EU’s migration policy will be seen as an invitation and the crisis will continue, he added. It should be made clear that only those may enter Europe who do so legally and illegal entrants will be returned to where they came from, the minister said.
featured image: Mohai Balázs/ MTI