“The opinion voiced by Hungary in 2015 then the first wave of migration reached Europe has now become the general European position”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Kossuth Radio’s “Sunday Paper” show.

“At the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Zagreb, a document was adopted according to which the external borders must be protected and full solidarity must be afforded to Greece, and furthermore the parties will not tolerate the illegal crossing of borders”, the Minister explained. “This is precisely what we said word-for-word in 2015, and for this we were at the time compared to the dictatorships of the darkest period of the 20th century”, he pointed out, adding: “But today, the European Union is essentially saying exactly the same thing; this has now become the mainstream European position”.

Mr. Szijjártó said the European Union had now decided to provide immediate assistance to Greece, which is something Hungary also supports. Hungary also supports the fact that Turkey should receive assistance from the European Union, but as he pointed out, Hungary has not received any kind of support from the EU since it built its border security fence, and “since thousands of police officers and military personnel have been in service at the border, this has now cost us well over 1 billion euros”. “So there exists a kind of double standard, this is totally obvious”, he declared, stressing: “What we care about isn’t the opinion that Brussels has developed about us, but that we are able to protect and successfully protect the security of the Hungarian people and Hungary”. “This is what Hungary has been doing over the past five years; through constructing and maintaining the border security fence and by deploying police and soldiers on the border, we have succeeded in assuring that illegal immigrants cannot enter Hungary”, the Minister said. “One thing is certain, that we will protect our borders whether we receive money or not”, Mr. Szijjártó declared. With relation to the epidemic being caused by the new strain of the coronavirus, he emphasised that it is a good idea to avoid northern Italy, but if someone has urgent business there, they should make sure they have detailed information on any restrictive measures. “But it would be better if no Hungarians were to travel to northern Italy at all in the upcoming weeks and months”, the Foreign Minister said.

According to the latest measures, the Italian authorities are putting a stop to all travel into and out of the region of Lombardy, which has a population of 10 million, and have also introduced a quarantine in 11 other cities in northern Italy. Mr. Szijjártó asked that everyone travelling abroad register for consular protection, which will make it easy to reach Hungarians abroad and provide them with assistance. According to the latest information, there are currently 8 Hungarians in quarantine in four countries around the world, and the Ministry is in continuous contact with them.