Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Szijjarto: Europe should aid Africa’s development instead of encouraging migration

If the European Union countinues to "encourage" migration instead of bringing development programmes to Africa, Europe will be "flooded" by immigrants, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday, adding that this would lead to "unforeseeable security challenges".
11. April 2024 17:51

Addressing a joint press conference with Musa Timothy Kabba, his Sierra Leone counterpart after a meeting of the Hungary-Sierra Leone economic mixed committee, Szijjarto said Africa’s population was projected to grow by 750 million over the next 20 years, warning of the “enormous challenge” it would be to ensure Africans’ access to education, health care and drinking water.

“So if the European Union continues to encourage people to set off for Europe rather than taking development programmes to Africa, the EU will be flooded by migrants, and we’ll be facing unforeseeable security challenges,” Szijjarto said, according to a ministry statement.

He said implementing development schemes required responsible governments such as that of Sierra Leone, praising the country’s efforts against terrorism, its defence of security interests and openness to cooperating with Europe to retain its population.

“And we’re prepared to work together with responsible African countries, support their economic growth and support them in retaining their growing populations by improving their standard of living,” Szijjarto said.

He said Hungary was not just “paying lip service” to aiding Africa, but also following up its words with actions.

Szijjarto said a business forum held earlier in the day had highlighted food supply, agriculture and water management as the areas with the most opportunities for cooperation between Hungary and Sierra Leone.

He said Hungarian companies were prepared to contribute to food security and water supply in the west African country and had started talks on two future investment projects aimed at ensuring 300,000 people’s access to clean drinking water.

Hungary’s government is prepared to contribute to both the financial and technological side of these projects, he added.

Szijjarto also said the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences was prepared to work with its local partners in Sierra Leone to create the framework for high-quality and secure food supply.

Meanwhile, he said there were currently 84 university students from Sierra Leone studying in Hungary, noting that Hungary offered scholarships to 50 students from the west African country each year.

Szijjarto said the war in Ukraine had a “serious impact” on both countries, underlining the global problems caused by soaring energy prices, inflation and challenges related to food supply.

“And peace is the only way to prevent these dramatic effects,” he said.

“That’s why we will continue to stand up for peace efforts at international forums in the interest of bringing an end to the war in Ukraine and preventing its dramatic effects from impacting the countries and people who have nothing to do with this war and are in no way responsible for it,” the minister said.

In response to a question, Szijjarto called the migration pact approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday “the legislative body’s most dangerous decision of the last five years”.

“This decision once again proves that Brussels and the European Union are pro-war and pro-migration,” he said. “It has made it clear that a strong rightward shift will be needed in early June in order for Europe to be a safer and more competitive place.”

Meanwhile, he said Hungary and Ukraine had yet to achieve a breakthrough in their talks on the rights of the Transcarpathian Hungarian community, insisting that the government would not compromise on this issue.

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