Hungary supports Lithuania in the protection of its borders against illegal immigrants, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Vilnius, pointing out that Lithuania was protecting the European Union’s external borders. “Lithuania is now facing the same serious challenge that Hungary faced in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants violated our southern border and with it our sovereignty,” Szijjártó said. He added that illegal migration now also carried the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.
Referring to the migrant caravan making its way from Belarus towards Lithuania, Szijjártó said that some 1,400 migrants had crossed into Lithuania illegally so far this year, compared with only 70 in the first half of 2020. He said that when Hungary faced similar migration pressure, the country had made it clear that it only allowed legal entry onto its territory despite an “onslaught of attacks” from Europe. “We reserve the right to be the sole authority on who can enter Hungary and whom we want to live together with,” Szijjarto said. Hungary overcame this challenge by building a fence on its border, the minister noted. “Long borders like the one on Hungary’s south and the Lithuanian-Belarusian border can’t be protected by human resources alone,” Szijjártó said. “Physical barriers are needed, and a fence is the best solution.” He said that if Hungary had not erected its fence in 2015, Europe would have seen an influx of hundreds of thousands or millions of more illegal immigrants. “So building the fence was the right decision because we were able to preserve Hungary as we want it to be,” he added.