“We are getting sick of statements concerning solidarity, according to which people should not pick and choose and every country must accept refugees”. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in an interview published in Wednesday’s edition of Austrian daily Wiener Zeitung.

“By protecting the European Union’s external borders, Hungary is protecting the whole of the EU”, the Minister declared. “Hungary has spent over 800 million euros on border protection so far including the costs of infrastructure, personnel and training”, he pointed out. “Why isn’t border protection included in the category of solidarity? Aren’t we showing solidarity by sending help to Slovenia and Bulgaria?”, the Minister asked.

In reply to a question, Mr. Szijjártó declared: Hungary would also be prepared to become involved in missions on the Mediterranean. “We have been saying for a long time that a deployable unit is needed to secure maritime borders”, he said, adding that this is a complicated issue, but not an impossible one. According to the Minister, this is what the EU should have been working on for the past two years instead of negotiating refugee distribution quotas.

Mr. Szijjártó stressed that the EU’S strength lies in its unity, which must be preserved. This is why Hungary is no longer capable of hearing threats of blackmail involving the reduction of EU funding, he explained. “When Hungary joined the EU, the agreement was that it would open its borders and receive financial resources”, the Foreign Minister said, adding: “Many enterprises from Austria, Germany, France and other countries realised huge profits as a result”. “EU funding is not equal to humanitarian aid”, explained the Minister, according to whom these funds flow into Hungary and other countries based on treaties, and their advantages are also shared by foreign companies.

“When two years ago we spoke about the security risks related to illegal immigration and the need to protect the EU, we were branded as Nazis and fascists, including by the Austrian Chancellor”, he said, adding: “All this occurred when Hungary was building its border security fence”. “When the Austrians later began constructing a similar fence along the Austrian-Slovenian border, they referred to it as a <gate with side parts>”, he pointed out, adding: “this is what I mean by hypocrisy”.

In reply to a question from the interviewer, Mr. Szijjártó declared: “It is no wonder that following the exit of Great Britain, the two largest economies, France and Germany, are reinforcing their cooperation”. “We have already indicated that the tightening of EU relations and the establishment of blocs within it cannot lead to member states that are not a member of the group drawing the short straw”, he declared, adding: “Hungary has an interest in the success of the eurozone; a major proportion of Hungary’s exports are destined there”.

“In 2010 and 2011, the debate within the European People’s Party was about whether immigration could provide a solution to job market and demographic challenges”, the Minister pointed out. “Our response at the time was certainly not, because while there is unemployment in Europe we should make use of our existing reserves, and if there is a problem with demographics then we must develop policies that are attractive to families”, said Mr. Szijjártó, according to whom Europe must be protected, and migration must be regarded as a threat.

“Many of my European counterparts tell me they are jealous because I can speak my mind”, he said, adding that “since we have a stable majority in Parliament and the public is behind us, we have the luxury of being able to be honest”.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)