“Pro-migration forces cannot win” at the Budapest Process interregional forum on migration starting in Istanbul on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. This process will “become the symbol for stopping pro-migration forces”, Szijjártó said in Brussels on Monday, on the sidelines of a meeting of his European counterparts. Szijjártó said Hungary would “not lend its name” to any European-level policies that would “involve inviting any further migrants” and added that the forum would not be concluded by a joint EU statement because “it would have clearly been a document promoting migration and encouraging the opening of further migration channels”. “We believe that a decision on migration can only be made once because if a country allows masses of migrants to enter, there is no going back,” he added.
Hungary will stick to its policy to protect the southern border with a fence even if some forces would dismantle it, Szijjártó said. One person promoting the idea is Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European Commission, who visited Budapest last weekend on the invitation of the opposition Socialists, he added.
On another subject, Szijjártó said the international coalition organised to fight the Islamic State has achieved considerable military success but the terror organisation has since changed tactics and was now trying to send back to Europe the 5,000 mercenary-terrorists who had joined the fights in the Middle East and North Africa. As a consequence, the external borders should continue to be protected “extremely strictly” and the same must be applied in terms of the Western Balkans. Migration waves can destabilise not only the transit and destination countries but also the countries of origin, he said. For this reason, the European Union should not focus on inviting the citizens of countries that are in a difficult situation but on promoting economic development which can help the native African population stay at home.
The over 50 governments and numerous international organisations involved in the Budapest Process focus on migration issues concerning the Silk Routes Region, which refers to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. The forum was named after Budapest because the city hosted its first official meeting in 1993. In addition to the 52 member states, seven countries including the US have observer status. Hungary fulfils the role of co-chair and the forum has been chaired by Turkey since 2006.