A European Union priority should be to provide employment for European citizens who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers. The grave economic consequences of the pandemic, he added, were now becoming clear. Szijjártó said he had called on the European Commission to “stop creating legal migration routes” and “insisting on bringing the African work force to Europe”. “What we need is jobs for European people,” he said. The EU’s talks on a migration agreement with Africa “should be about African people staying in their homelands”, he said.
Regarding talks on Libya, Szijjártó noted that the Visegrad Group donated 35 million euros in 2018 to support border protection efforts on the Mediterranean. However, the EU “has yet to get around to buying” the ships which the Libyan coast guard could use to stop migration and people smuggling towards Europe, he said. At Monday’s talks, the foreign ministers agreed that three ships will be bought for that purpose, Szijjártó said.
Regarding the situation in Belarus, where demonstrations have been ongoing for six weeks after a contested presidential election, Szijjártó said the foreign ministers had not made a decision regarding sanctions. Also, Szijjártó said he had asked Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union, to help Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the Catholic Archbishop of Minsk, to return to his homeland.
Earlier, Szijjártó urged the European Union to adopt a “clear and comprehensive” strategy in respect of Belarus. It is important for the EU to prepare a long-term plan, effective from a political, economic and security point of view, Péter Szijjártó said in a video message before the meeting. The EU should elaborate its plans under Poland’s guidance, he added. “Hungary is already engaged in providing help to Belarus, in the form of assisting the country’s Catholic Church,” he said, noting that Kondrusiewicz has been barred from returning to his home country from Poland since August 31. “Kondrusiewicz’s presence could help achieve a peaceful solution to the situation in Belarus,” Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary will continue to call for allowing the bishop to return to the country.