Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Hungary, Poland cooperate in handling migration, foreign minister says

Szijjarto: EU not prepared for open, democratic debates

The European Union allows no room for actual democratic debates based on mutual respect, Hungary's foreign minister said on Tuesday, adding that the use of double standards was also a "major challenge" for the bloc.

Addressing a panel discussion at an economic forum in Karpacz, in southern Poland, Peter Szijjarto underscored the importance of engaging in honest debates about overcoming the challenges facing Europe. The minister lamented, however, that those whose opinions differ from the mainstream were often labelled “anti-Europe” and sidelined.

Hungary’s interests lie in a strong EU based on strong member states capable of preserving their heritage, national identity and culture, and outright rejects the “extremist” federalist position that favours the establishment of a “united states of Europe”, Szijjarto said, adding that Hungary was also against transferring more powers to Brussels.

As regards the EU’s level of competitiveness, the minister said member states should be left to decide on their own taxation policies, underlining the importance of internal competition. Blocking the EU’s enlargement, he said, also hurt its competitiveness, especially after Brexit and the EU’s failure to conclude a framework agreement with Switzerland.

Szijjarto said the EU should immediately move to admit Serbia to the bloc, arguing that doing so would serve as a stabilising factor for the Western Balkan region.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto called the Visegrad cooperation the “soul of Hungarian foreign policy”, emphasising that together Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia had achieved success on issues which they could not have tackled on their own.

Had the V4 not stood their ground, the EU would be resettling migrants according to mandatory quotas among its member states today, the minister said.

On another subject, Szijjarto said the volume of trade between Germany and the V4 exceeded German-French trade by 70 percent, adding that the grouping’s security policy had made it one of the world’s most competitive regions.

Hungary, Poland cooperate in handling migration

Hungary and Poland are closely cooperating in preventing some western European states from imposing on the European Union the “flawed and dangerous” migration policy whose consequences have been felt since 2015, Szijjarto said after talks with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau in Karpacz, Poland.

The situation in Afghanistan, he said, keeps deteriorating, with reports on a forthcoming civil war emerging but half of the population of that country had lived on welfare even before the Islamist Taliban rebels came to power.

“The western European statements that can be interpreted as invitations to all Afghans are particularly irresponsible,” Szijjarto said.

Europe is exposed to migratory pressures not only from Africa and the Middle East, but even from the east, through Belarus, he said, adding that another wave from Afghanistan would entail “incalculable consequences”, he said.

Hungary and Poland’s migration policies “are based on common sense”, Szijjarto said, recalling that Hungary had built a fence along its southern border in 2015, and Poland is doing the same along its eastern border.

The two governments are not only talking about the need to help where needs arise, the minister said, citing a Hungarian-Polish project to grant 1 million euros’ worth of aid to Jordanian hospitals caring for Syrian refugees.

Szijjarto qualified Western Europe’s current migration policy as a “huge threat” to European security and identity, adding that a massive wave of refugees would increase the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.

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