“Hungary will always continue to stand by its own position despite international pressure, and will not allow illegal immigrants to set foot on its territory, while by protecting its southern border it will continue to protect Europe, because it regards the security of the country, and through it the security of Europe, as most important”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said during negotiations in Riga on Thursday.

In the Latvian capital Mr. Szijjártó held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy Arvils Aseradens, and with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevich. He also met with Latvian Members of Parliament who signed and issued a declaration in support of Hungary after the European Commission launched infringement proceedings against several countries including Hungary because of their migration policies.

In a telephone statement for Hungarian news agency MTI, the Minister said Hungary and Latvia have a strong allied cooperation with regard to issues concerning the future of the EU and migrations, as is clearly shown by the fact that just a single (left wing) Latvian MEP signed the European Parliament resolution criticising Hungary, while 23 MPs from both the governing party and the opposition signed the declaration in opposition of the European Commission supporting Hungary’s migration policies (the Minister met with ten of these MP’s in Riga).

“We agreed that the mandatory quotas are unacceptable and that their implementation cannot be forced into any state, furthermore that the setting up of any kind of mechanism for resettling migrants is also unacceptable”, the Minister declared.

“There was also agreement om the fact that EU cohesion funding is ‘due’ to all members of the European Union, including the new Central European and Baltic member states”, he added.

“We regard it as unacceptable and as blackmail that certain European countries and their leaders are threatening to reduce or withdraw the EU funding that is due to us simply because we do not agree with them on certain issues. EU funding is not humanitarian aid, we do not receive it thanks to the charity of Western Europeans; it is money that we are due in view of the fact that all EU member states, including those in Central Europe, have opened their markets to economic players and enterprises from Western Europe”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, pointing out that Western enterprises profit from a significant amount of the money that Hungary receives in the form of EU funding.

Mr. Szijjártó agreed with his Latvian negotiating partners that border protection must be handled as an extreme priority. Both Hungary and Latvia are protecting the external borders of the EU and the Schengen Area, and Latvia has also decided to construct a fence along a 210 kilometre stretch of its border with Belarus and Russia, the first 23 km of which is already finished.

According to the Foreign Minister, the parties also agreed that protecting the external borders of the European Union is a very important form of showing solidarity. “We reject the Western European approach according to which only countries that allow in illegal immigrants are showing solidarity”, Mr. Szijjártó declared.

The Minister drew attention to the fact that both Latvia and Hungary are spending major resources on protecting Europe and on the continent’s security through protecting the external borders, whereas they could be spending this money on developing their own economies.

“Accordingly, border protection must also be regarded as a very important manifestation of solidarity”, the Minister explained.
The Latvian Members of Parliament told Mr Szijjártó that Hungary can always count on their sympathy and support, and that they view the Hungarian standpoint as a model that should be expressly followed with regard to certain European issues.

“They also made clear their opinion according to which current European migration policy to all intents and purposes exclusively serves the success of the people smugglers’ business model”, Mr. Szijjártó told MTI.