“The pro-immigration forces cannot be allowed to win at the ministerial session of the so-called Budapest Process in Istanbul on Wednesday, and in fact this Process will be a symbol of the fact that we are stopping the advance of the forces that are supporting migration”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Brussels on Monday in the recess of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

In a statement to Hungarian reporters, Mr. Szijjártó stressed that Hungary will not be giving its name or support to any European-level policy that could result in the invitation of further migrants, and accordingly at the Istanbul meeting of the Budapest process, which was established in 1993 and focuses on migration issues relating to the Silk Road region of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Iran, there will be no joint EU standpoint, which in his opinion would clearly have been a statement that supports migration and inspires the development of new channels of migration. “We believe that a decision on migration can only be brought once, because if a country allows the mass settlement of migrants, there is no going back” he stated.

“Hungary is sticking to its policy, according to which it will continue to protect its southern border with a fence, despite the fact that there are those who want to demolish it”, he said. The Minister drew attention to the fact that First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, who is arguing against the fence, and who was in Budapest over the weekend at the invitation of the socialists, is one such person. “This means that the forces that wish to bring migrants into Europe have also united in Hungary, but Hungary will continue to stand up to this pressure in future”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined.

He highlighted the fact that the international coalition organised to combat the Islamic State has achieved significant military success, but that it must also be taken into account that the terrorist organisation has switched tactics and is continuously attempting to send the some five thousand mercenary terrorists, who previously travelled from Europe to the Middle East or North Africa to join the fight, back to Europe. “For this reason, the protection of Europe’s external borders must be maintained extremely strictly, and similar action must be taken with relation to countries along the Western Balkan migration route”, he declared. Mr. Szijjártó said waves of migration are not only capable of destabilising transit and target countries, but also source countries, and accordingly it is important that the EU should not concentrate on inviting the citizens of countries that are in a difficult position, but should instead set economic development goals that are capable of helping Africa to increase it population retention capability parallel to its increasing population.

With relation to the first EU-Arab League summit scheduled to be held in Egypt on 24-25 February, the Minister said the closing statement of the meeting will not include any kind of reference to the UN Global Compact for Migration and Global Compact on Refugees. “The text will, however, clearly include the Hungarian priorities that refer to national competencies, and which highlight the need to fight against people smuggling and illegal migration”, he said. Mr. Szijjártó added that Hungary is providing all possible assistance towards the improvement of conditions in Syria in the interests of enabling refugees to return to their homes, to alleviate migration pressure on Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. As he explained, Hungary has confirmed its joint intent with Poland to begin the renovation of an orphanage in the Syrian city of Homs, which is capable of caring for 130 children. In addition, Hungary has undertaken to pay the operational costs of three Syrian hospitals for a year and is helping three Syrian Christian communities with some 4 million euros in aid so that thousands more people do not set out for Europe.

With relation to Ukraine, the Minister said that at the meeting, Romania, Italy and Greece, amongst others, had also raised the issue that with relation to minorities Kiev must be expected to fulfil its undertakings and abide by European regulations. “Hungary has made it clear that it is cause for concern not simply with relation to the Hungarian national community, but also from the perspective of respecting European values, if Ukrainian Parliament adopts the Language Act in its current form, since it makes the use of minority languages in culture, the media and public administration impossible. Additional, in their current form, Ukraine’s public administration reform plans would make the political representation of minorities impossible”, he explained.