The European logistic networks will, as anticipated, also be affected by the consequences of the migration crisis over an extended period, Zoltán Kovács said in London on Wednesday.

The Government Spokesperson attended a conference on Pan-European Freight Security and The Migrant Crisis in London. At the press conference convened for Hungarian journalists on Wednesday evening, he said: it was confirmed at the event that the volume of traffic of the Channel Tunnel which connects Britain with the continent can only be fully restored to its former levels by the end of 2017 or in 2018 according to the estimates of the operators. The hauliers using the route are sustaining enormous losses as, due to the refugee situation which has evolved in and around Calais, rail freight and road haulage cannot be maintained on an ongoing basis.

Attendees of the conference were informed that the transportation of cargo from the continent to Britain may sometimes take up to three to four times longer than under normal circumstances, Mr Kovács said.

He told the press: he stated the Hungarian position at the conference, based on which it is necessary to create the conditions, through the institutional reinforcement of the Schengen system, which ensure that the number of migrants arriving in Europe illegally should be minimised as, in a case to the contrary, the Calais crisis, too, will be continuously regenerated, regardless of the security and other measures which the local authorities may adopt there. The Hungarian package of proposals calls for a more stringent and more effective lock mechanism which could prevent the continuous recurrence of the migration crisis, Mr Kovács pointed out.

Upon speaking about the EU reforms demanded by London, he said: the Hungarian and Central-European position is „firm and yields to no compromise” on a single item in dispute, namely, the rights of Hungarian nationals working in Britain.

In answer to the question of the Hungarian News Agency MTI as to whether the Hungarian Government is preparing any contingency plans for the event that those in favour of Britain leaving the EU should be in the majority at the referendum called for 23 June regarding Britain’s EU membership, Mr Kovács said: there would be no need for any short-term emergency planning in this instance as the consequences of such an outcome would not be immediate. There are different scenarios and this is obviously an issue that is being considered; however, specific plans can only be drafted in the light of the outcome of the referendum, the Government Spokesperson highlighted.

Returning to the issue of the migration crisis, he pointed out: everyone only ever thinks about Syrian refugees, notwithstanding the fact that the authorities in Hungary registered the data of people coming from more than a hundred countries last year – one half of the countries of the world. The Government Spokesperson takes the view that this clearly indicates: this is not a refugee crisis, but the migration to Europe of masses of people from territories extending from South-East-Asia all the way to South-America simply because living standards are higher here.

Mr Kovács also pointed out in an interview given to the Wednesday evening news of the television channel Channel 4 that less than one third of migrants coming to Europe claimed to be Syrian. He added: last year approximately two million people entered the territory of the European Union without permission, and this did not allow us to determine which ones are economic migrants and which ones are genuine refugees who need to be taken care of.

In answer to a comment from the news reporter to the effect that the Hungarian authorities deployed water cannon and tear gas at the southern border last year, Mr Kovács stressed: this was in response to the attempts of hundreds of migrants to break into the territory of Hungary.