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Szijjarto: Hungary EU presidency determined act against illegal migration

Hungary is determined to take resolute action against illegal migration during its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, the foreign minister said on Friday, adding that new migration routes were emerging and pressure was increasing on south-eastern Europe.
19. January 2024 16:26

Szijjarto and Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis reviewed the main challenges facing Europe, “including the most serious challenge: the growing pressure of migration”, the ministry said in a statement.

“My Greek counterpart informed me that new routes are taking shape in south-eastern Europe, including migration to Greece,” he said. “Greece faces growing pressure and new migration routes,” he added.

“This makes it all the more important for Hungary to take determined action against illegal migration during its presidency of the EU,” he said. Szijjarto said Budapest could rely on the support of Athens regarding important issues connected wit Hungary’s upcoming EU presidency.

“We were in agreement that protecting the external EU borders is vitally important, and we must not give up the basic principle of our sovereignty; only we are entitled to decide who can enter our respective countries and with whom we are willing to live together,” he said.

He also said that Hungary and Greece shared the position that security challenges facing Europe, including an escalation of the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, must be avoided. “Preventing escalation in both armed conflicts is vitally important to both of us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said that like Hungary, Greece was also sensitive when it came to respecting nationality rights and specifically those of the ethnic Greek communities living beyond its borders.

“We were in agreement that the issue of national minority rights must not be allowed to be suppressed by claims that they are bilateral issues,” he said. “Respect for the rights of ethnic minorities is an international legal issue, one that belongs to the rule of law, and therefore it must be kept on the international agenda,” he added.

Szijjarto also met the energy ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. He said the security of energy supplies was vitally important. New resources and transport routes must be involved, and “it is unavoidable that Greece will be a transit country” for natural gas supplies to Hungary, he added.

He welcomed the expansion of the capacity of a natural gas link between Bulgaria and Greece, from the current 3 billion cubic metres to 5 billion cubic metres next year, and added that Greek LNG ports would become available as a result.

“New transport routes through Greece can be considered for the security of natural gas supplies to Hungary,” he said.

“The better we are connected with neighbours and areas next to us, the more secure we are in terms of energy supply security,” he added.

“We have completed a successful visit in Greece, establishing that new energy routes serving the security of our energy supplies have been created, and we have strengthened our cooperation as allies in matters that are important to Hungary’s security,” he said.

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