“Because of the coronavirus epidemic, we must prepare for further waves of migration, and accordingly for the consistent protection of the EU’s external borders”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Thursday in Athens.

“The coronavirus epidemic represents yet another source of danger from the perspective of migration, because it is placing countries from which huge numbers of migrants have already arrived in Europe into an even more difficult position”, Mr. Szijjártó pointed out at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“Greece and Hungary are protecting the external borders of the European Union, while during the past five years they have continuously had to face the challenges, dangers and security threats associated with migration”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.
“All behaviour on the part of Brussels that migrants may interpret as an invitation must come to an end, and it must be made absolutely clear that illegally crossing a border is a crime that must be sanctioned in accordance with national and international laws”, the Minister indicated.
“There is one point with relation to which Budapest and Athens do not agree, and that is the mandatory resettlement quota, which Hungary refuses to accept in any form”, Hungary’s chief diplomat said. “However, we are prepared to provide assistance and development funding to countries from which the migrants set out”, he underlined.
Mr. Szijjártó suggested the establishment of jointly financed development programs that could improve the security and living conditions of Middle Eastern Christian communities to his Greek counterpart. In addition, the parties concluded a tourism agreement, and the tightening of energy-related cooperation was also discussed. The latter could be realised through the interconnection of the Greek and Hungarian natural gas pipeline systems. “If everything goes according to plan, this could provide a new source of energy by 2022-2023”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister indicated.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)