Photo: Israeli Defence Forces (archive)

Government official: EU decision-makers ‘have let every Middle East conflict into Europe’

By allowing an uncontrolled influx of migrants from the Middle East and north Africa, the European Union "has let every local conflict into Europe", a state secretary of the interior ministry said on Friday.
13. October 2023 13:52

This is the reason for the anti-Semitic mass demonstrations seen in western European cities that are “reminiscent of the darkest times”, Bence Retvari told reporters.

People smugglers are becoming more and more organised and professional in getting migrants into the EU, he said, adding that they were also becoming more aggressive and were arming themselves with increasingly dangerous weapons. Migrants caused an unprecedented quarter of a billion forints’ worth of damage to the fence on the southern border by mid-summer, he said.

Retvari said people smuggling was not a way for poor people to reach Europe, but rather a way for people to stay in the EU illegally. Plane ticket prices to Europe start at 200,000 forints (EUR 517) in the Middle East, but people smugglers are paid 5 million forints to take migrants from Turkiye to Germany, he said. Those who come to Europe illegally do so because they want to stay here illegally, he added.

The state secretary said the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council had “used a legal trick” to approve the text of the migrant quota regulation early in the summer, and just a few weeks ago, pressured by “pro-migration politicians”, it approved a so-called crisis regulation after just 13 minutes of talks. Hungary opposes these decisions, because if they were to enter into force, one-third of EU procedures would have to be conducted in Hungary, turning the country’s southern border into “another Lampedusa”, Retvari said, referring to the situation on the Italian island.

By building its border fence, Hungary demonstrated the way to handle illegal migration, and EU member states could overcome the problem by building fences on land, banning ships carrying migrants from docking, and assessing asylum applications outside Europe, he said.

But it is the intention that Brussels lacks, Retvari said, insisting that the EU wanted to manage rather than thwart migration. The EU was also unwilling to cover Hungary’s border protection costs, and now owed the country 650 billion forints, he said, adding that Hungary “expects” to be compensated.

Gyorgy Bakondi, the prime minister’s chief domestic security advisor, said the Hungarian authorities had prevented 157,200 people from crossing the border illegally so far this year, and had apprehended 961 people smugglers. He said both human smuggling activity and the number of illegal migrants attempting entry had nearly doubled compared with 2021.

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