“The terrorist attacks committed in Europe during the course of the past two years prove that migration represents the most serious security challenge for Europe”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in the recess of the two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.

The Minister highlighted the fact that at the recent EU-Africa Summit held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, it was clearly proven that international forecasts, including on the part of NATO, according to which a further significant level of migration pressure can be expected from the south, are well-founded.

As he explained, the masses of people potentially flowing into Europe from the African continent has a practically unlimited supply of replacements in view of the fact that the continent’s population is expected to double to exceed two billion within the upcoming period, which could cause major economic difficulties and significant instability in several African countries.

“It is in Europe’s security interests to succeed in stopping migration pressure from the south, and NATO must also play a role in this, because the European Union is not capable of doing so on its own”, he underlined.

Mr. Szijjártó told reporters that the foreign ministers of NATO’s member states had agreed that the military alliance will continue to support EU efforts to handle migration pressure via its missions on the Aegean and Mediterranean, in addition to which it will assist joint efforts to combat people smugglers by providing intelligence data. The Minister emphasised that as migration pressure from Africa increases, the NATO fleet will have an even greater role to play in protecting Europe’s southern borders in future.

“Hungary believes that in addition to economic recovery and scholarship programmes, and development projects aimed at facilitating stability, it must be made clear that the borders that have been easily permeable until now will not be easy to cross in future”, he underlined.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade declared that Hungary is a firm supporter of the expansion of the military alliance, and accordingly it would like NATO to take the opposite path from that of the European Union, where the number of member states is decreasing.

“Both the Bosnian and Macedonian accession negotiations must be accelerated in the interests of the peace and stability of the Western Balkans, in addition to which Georgia has fulfilled all of the conditions necessary to enable NATO to launch its Membership Action Plan (MAP) in the near future”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)