Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Szijjarto: Europe ‘will not be safe until it stops illegal migration’

Growing migration pressure is to a large extent due to the European Union's pro-migration policy, and Europe will not be safe until it stops illegal migration, Hungary's minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Valletta on Friday.

After meeting his Maltese counterpart Ian Borg, Peter Szijjarto told a joint press conference that both countries were under double pressure from illegal migration and the war in Ukraine.

Hungary thwarted 263,000 illegal entry attempts this year alone, and Malta reported rising numbers of arrivals across the Mediterranean, he said.

“We shall not be safe from illegal migration as long as Brussels doesn’t change its pro-migration policy and until we all speak with one, clear voice and say that only those arriving legally may enter Europe,” he said.

Szijjarto accused NGOs of colluding with people smuggler rings and working with them to pressure sovereign European states: “They want to decide who we should accept.”

“These organisations are presented as heroes in the West but they are actually members of criminal organisations,” he said.

The war in Ukraine has also brought severe problems to Hungary and Malta, with the former suffering from the energy crisis and the latter from maritime restrictions, Szijjarto said. The two countries agree that “peace is needed as soon as possible”, and neither deliver arms to Ukraine, the minister said.

Malta and Hungary both see the European Union as an alliance of sovereign countries, he said.

“We don’t support the decision-making process to move towards qualified majority [replacing unanimous decisions]. We do not support the idea that the EU should take over further competencies from member states, and we want Brussels to respect all member states, regardless of their size,” he said.

Bilateral cooperation has been beneficial for both countries, he said. Trade volume grew by 60 percent and tourism also picked up last year. The number of nights Hungarian guests spent in Malta has jumped by 41 percent and twice as many Maltese guests have arrived in Hungary so far this year than they did all year in 2021, he said.

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