AP NEWS

Hungary says Europe remains ‘defenseless’ against migrants

May 11, 2018

From left, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz Albania's Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, and Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, pose for a group photo during the Visegrad-4 plus Balkan-4 plus meeting in Cape Sounio, about 68 kilometers(42miles) south of Athens, on Friday, May 11, 2018. The foreign ministers of eight central European and Balkan European Union countries are holding talks in Greece, in which prospective EU members from the Balkans are also represented. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Hungary’s foreign minister said Friday that Europe remains threatened by unchecked immigration and must focus on stopping it, three years after the mass influx of about a million people.

Peter Szijjarto told The Associated Press that the European Union should screen asylum-seekers in camps created outside its own borders, which he said the bloc should be able to police more efficiently.

“Now we are exactly where we used to be three years ago,” he said. “The European Union is defenseless from the south and from the southeast.”

Szijjarto spoke on the sidelines of a regional EU foreign ministers meeting in Greece that discussed energy cooperation, and the bloc’s expansion before a summit next week in Bulgaria.

Greece is a major gateway to the EU for asylum-seekers, and has seen increasing arrivals in recent months.

Hungary is strongly critical of EU immigration policies, has built border fences to keep migrants out and rejects the bloc’s obligatory quota system for taking in asylum-seekers.

“We should not speak about how to encourage migration, how to manage migration, we should speak about how to stop the migratory flows,” Szijjarto said. “Because if the migratory flows continue then that would pose a significant security threat (to) Europe.”

Friday’s talks in a resort south of Athens brought together ministers from the so-called Visegrad Group — Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — and Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.

Visegrad Group members strongly object to EU immigration policies, and resent criticism over the rule of the law in their countries from many EU partners.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz told the AP that while attitudes towards Poland from other European capitals and “elites” have improved, countries facing similar criticism should take common defensive action.

“Countries of the region, central and eastern Europe, should stay together,” he said. “We have common interests, we cannot accept double standards within the European Union, and we have to defend our cause.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly