It would be unacceptable for Hungary if the reception of a fixed number of refugees were imposed as an EU obligation, given that the country is already under significant migration pressure as it is, Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér stressed.

The Minister said that the General Secretariat of the Council in Brussels is in the process of summarising the opinions stated by the Member States at the internal affairs meeting, and will present its findings to the attendees of the EU summit to be held next week on Thursday and Friday. Based on the position which is expected to be approved by the summit, the Commissioner of the European Union for Home Affairs may prepare a draft for the implementation of agreements on migration by September.

The Hungarian Minister said that they first reviewed the migration pressure that Italy and Greece are compelled to endure, but after the representatives of the individual Member States supplied specific data regarding the number of illegal migrants apprehended on their borders, it became clear that Hungary, too, is among the countries particularly affected by the problem, and in addition to the Mediterranean, the routes leading through the Balkans also deserve special attention at EU level.

The European Commission proposed specific immigrant quotas with reference to the sharing of burdens among the EU Member States and the principle of solidarity in May. Mr Pintér highlighted that, on this occasion, the Ministers did not debate numbers but focused on principles, with particular emphasis on whether the immigrant distribution quotas among the Member States should be mandatory or voluntary. The text of the Commission’s proposal is a little “uncertain” from this respect; however, Hungary is firmly on the side of a voluntary approach.

The concept emerged at the meeting that the cases of political refugees and individuals setting out for Europe out of economic considerations should be separated in an organised manner already in the countries involved outside the EU and that they should be treated accordingly.

The Minister of Interior pointed out that Hungary would be in favour of being given full freedom in issues concerning the policing of its borders, including the detention of illegal migrants which is currently governed by restrictive EU regulations.

Mr Pintér said that, in addition to a frank discussion regarding the problems of asylum, the Ministers also made a pledge in favour of the Schengen system without internal border controls and the maintenance of the principle of the free movement of persons.

(Ministry of Interior/MTI)