Austria and Hungary are intensifying cooperation to contain illegal migration, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said in Vienna on Thursday. The European Union clearly faces security challenges on several fronts, he told Hungarian public media, adding that “coping with them one at a time would be complicated enough, let alone simultaneously.” In addition to the war in Ukraine, illegal migration poses an ever growing challenge, Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary has stopped 130,000 illegal migrants from entering along its southern border this year, over twice as many as in 2021. “What’s more, several armed migrants have attacked one another and the Hungarian border patrols,” he said, adding that 900 migrants have been arrested so far this year. “Brussels’ pro-migration policies” encourage even greater migration waves, “reinforcing the business models of people smugglers,” Szijjártó said. “What is people smuggling today will become arms smuggling tomorrow”, deteriorating central Europe’s security prospects, the minister said.
Austria and Hungary have a shared interest in halting migrants as south as possible and stepping up cooperation to this effect, he said. Austria has offered help to train members of Hungary’s new border ranger units and increase the number of Serbian border guards serving along the Hungarian-Serbian border, Szijjártó said. The minister insisted that Brussels should at last take a completely new approach to migration. “As long as Brussels legally supports and politically inspires migration, we Hungarians and Austrians should make incredible efforts to stop migrants at our border,” Szijjártó said.