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Countries that rein in illegal migration deserve special respect when “the ill-fated policies of Brussels” result in increased pressure of migration on Europe, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday, calling for greater financial support for Egypt. Szijjártó told a joint press conference with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Budapest that relations between the two countries had always been based on mutual respect, adding that Hungary had gained much as a result in terms of security and the economy. “The value of this long-standing friendly cooperation has further grown, when global security has become rather fragile,” he said. “What makes Hungarian-Egyptian cooperation even more significant is that we both belong to the pro-peace global majority,” he added. “We’d like to see the war in Ukraine end as soon as possible,” he said. “We represent the position that there is no solution to this war on the battle field; only diplomacy, talks, a ceasefire and peace talks can bring the desired results,” he added. Szijjártó said that mass illegal migration was a severe security challenge, adding that Hungarian authorities had prevented 270,000 illegal border crossing attempts last year “without any help from Brussels”. “In addition to not getting help, Brussels is continually worsening the situation by making pro-migration statements and encouraging migration,” he said. “By now, human smuggling has basically become a flourishing business throughout Europe thanks to Brussels’ migration policies,” he said. “And since Brussels policies are stoking migration pressure, we must respect countries that help prevent this pressure from growing further,” he added. Egypt is one such country, being one of strongest bastions of the line of defence in north Africa, despite the internal warfare in neighbourly Sudan which is also unleashing a wave of migrants, he said. “So we’re asking Brussels … to increase financial support for Egypt, to enable Egypt look after the refugees from Sudan,” he added. “We also call on Brussels to give technical and technological support to Egypt to help the country protect its borders so that refugees from Sudan cannot cross over to Libya, from where there is straight passage to Europe,” he said. Cairo deserves gratitude for reining in the wave of migration because in the current situation Europe would find it very hard to cope with an additional security challenge, he said. Szijjártó highlighted cooperation in energy, technology and training, adding that a new nuclear power station was being built in both countries with the same technology and main contractor. He also noted that 125 Egyptian students study with scholarships in Hungarian higher education, and 890 applications have been received so far this year.
Meanwhile, the sides signed an agreement at the meeting on cooperation in plant protection. In response to a question on Hungarian peacekeepers injured during Kosovo riots on the previous day, Szijjártó said it was a Hungarian national security interest to ensure peace in the Western Balkans, which is also why the government is calling for EU enlargement in that direction as soon as possible. “We are not only talking about this but also making an effort, which is why hundreds of Hungarian soldiers are serving in the Western Balkans, in a NATO mission in Kosovo and EU mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” he said. Commenting on Monday’s events, he said Hungarian soldiers had acquitted themselves with supreme professionalism and acted in line with commands. The fifteen soldiers injured received hospital care and none is in life-threatening condition, he said. The Hungarian group of doctors sent to the site will decide which must be transported home, Szijjártó added. No decision has been made yet on whether new soldiers will be sent to replace the injured, the minister said.