At a press conference held in Budapest on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced that the Government has instructed Minister of the Interior Sándor Pintér to prepare for closure of the Hungarian-Serbian border by next Wednesday; this will be achieved by erecting a four-metre-high fence.

The Minister of the Interior will have until next Wednesday to complete the preparations, at which time he must report on the issue, Mr. Szijjártó said.

DownloadPhoto: Gergely Botár

A Hungarian-Serbian intergovernmental summit will be held on 1 July, at which the Serbian government will receive detailed information on the Hungarian measures, the Minister announced.

The Minister emphasised that Hungary does not violate any international legal obligation and does not breach any international contract with the erection of the fence along the 175 kilometres long border section. Mr. Szijjártó said that this decision by the Government is not a unique one:  he cited the examples of fences along the Greek-Turkish and Bulgarian-Turkish borders, and Spanish cities in North Africa which have similar protective measures.

The Government has also given instructions for completion of the necessary preparatory legal work to enable Hungary to classify all EU Member States and candidate countries as safe countries, Mr. Szijjártó said.

He also explained that Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas has informed the Government of research conducted among farmers in the border region, who have said that trespassing by immigrants is causing very serious problems.

DownloadPhoto: Gergely Botár

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that it became apparent at the meeting of EU Ministers of Interior held on Tuesday that Hungary is the EU Member State most gravely affected by immigration.

The Minister said that one of the greatest challenges currently facing the EU is the issue of immigration, to which EU Member States are trying to find a solution; at this stage, however, the route to a satisfactory joint approach seems to be a rather long and time-consuming one, he added. Therefore, he announced, Hungary cannot afford to wait any longer, “although we hope that there will be a common European solution”.

In conclusion, the Minister said that the Government is committed to protecting Hungary and the Hungarian people from the pressure of immigration.