Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó, speaking at a meeting of the Visegrad countries and eight Nordic-Baltic states in Lithuania, said: “Brussels favours migration and the European Commission has started communicating the positive effects of legal migration.” “This takes us back to last year’s dispute [in the UN] over the global migration compact, which was exclusively about how to legalise illegal migration,” Szijjártó told a press conference. The European Commission “keeps trying to pull the wool over the eyes of governments” and wants to make the public believe that “there is no migration crisis and that migration is good”, he added.
Szijjártó said there was general agreement at the V4-Baltics meeting that migration had carved out the deepest dividing lines in the history of the European Union so far. The European Parliament election will resolve the question of what direction the EU will head in, he added. Hungary is concerned that infrastructure along Europe’s southern borders has not been developed “since the start of a tranquil period facilitated by the agreement between the EU and Turkey”, Szijjártó said, adding that the past three-and-a-half years should have been used to complete infrastructure to protect those borders.
He said that due to migration, the terrorist threat in Europe “has become unprecedented in recent decades and security challenges have amassed.”
Szijjártó said that whereas the commission insisted the migration crisis was over, the number of migrants crossing into Turkey had increased by 50 percent last year, and their total number in Turkey has reached 4 million. Around 17,000 illegal migrants have been apprehended in the western Balkans and “another migration wave similar to that of four years ago must be prevented,” he said. He called for aid to support development projects in Africa so that the continent can hold back a potential migration wave.
Hungary, the minister said, is concerned that the EU is handling Africa with the wrong approach. “The continent is presented as a group of countries that definitely want to send their citizens to Europe, but when we talk to our colleagues there, they say they want to keep these people and they ask for help. They don’t want them sent to Europe.”
Szijjártó voiced concern about a yet unpublished commission document that suggests that “they seek to make the global migration pact legally binding for all EU members, including those who did not vote for it”. The commission’s responses to questions concerning the document are not “reassuring”, he added. He said that whereas in the debate, the compact was sold as non-binding, work was already under way to find European legal ways to implement it.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó commented on how US President Donald Trump was perceived in Europe, saying every one of his measures had been greeted with “hysteria and attacks” in the media. On the topic of cooperation with China, Szijjártó talked of “double standards” and “hypocrisy” in the EU, adding that warnings against trading with China came hand in hand with four major countries — Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy — conducting almost half of their trade with the Asian country.