Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto warns of continuing security challenges outside EU

Amid challenges linked to the war in Ukraine, "continued security challenges in the neighbourhood of the European Union must not be neglected", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Brussels on Tuesday on the sidelines of an international donor conference in support of Syria.

Speaking to Hungarian journalists, Szijjarto called for efforts to prevent the EU from having to face multiple security challenges should it fail to handle problems in the Middle East or north Africa.

Europe must do everything possible to avoid further waves of mass migration, he said, arguing that the EU should “not promote migration” but help create conditions locally whereby residents are not forced to leave their homelands. Hungary supports and will contribute to European programmes aimed at creating such conditions and helping refugees return to their homelands, he added.

At the conference, Hungary offered a total 1,085 one-year university scholarships to students from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq worth a combined 3.3 billion forints (EUR 8.7m), the minister said. Currently nine Hungarian development projects worth a combined 6.3 billion forints are being implemented in Syria and in countries accommodating Syrian refugees, he added. The programmes are aimed at renewing and running hospitals, helping schools and promoting job creation, he said.

On another subject, Szijjarto said the government rejected “any attempt to compare refugees from Ukraine and illegal migrants [arriving in Hungary] from the south”. Hungary will accommodate all refugees fleeing Ukraine but it strictly protects its borders from illegal entrants, he said. “As opposed to Ukrainian refugees, illegal migrants have no right to enter Hungary because they have already crossed dozens of safe countries,” the minister said.

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