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May 26, 2016

EU Ministers back Hungary’s migration proposal

“The conclusions of Monday’s meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council include every single Hungarian proposal,” Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said following the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Minister Szijjártó was referring to the fact that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Schengen 2.0 proposal was included in the document jointly adopted by the EU foreign ministers at the Council meeting. “This step hopefully means that the European Union will be able to handle the migration crisis better as a whole,” Minister Szijjártó said. The Hungarian proposal urges the establishment of so-called hot spots (EU-operated registration centers for asylum seekers) outside the borders of the EU so that asylum requests are ruled on outside the common EU borders.

This proposal would significantly reduce the number of people entering the territory of the European Union illegally before their case is decided. Currently, the reacceptance mechanism – according to which migrants not entitled to asylum must be returned – isn’t operating as expected. This could save lives because if the decision is already made outside the territory of the European Union then tens of thousands of people would not risk their lives to reach the EU by sea. “In addition, the measure could mean an end to the business model of human traffickers,” Mr. Szijjártó said. The recommendations regarding border protection were also included in the Council Conclusions, assuring the protection of Europe and the people of Europe.

Hungary’s proposal to aid Iraqi Kurdistan, where hundreds of thousands of refugees are being cared for, in addition to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, was included in the document as well. The stability of Iraq and the Kurdish region is important for the country’s territorial integrity and for the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organization, he highlighted.

“Border protection and cooperation with third countries must be realized simultaneously. If one element is missing, the challenge cannot be handled,” the minister emphasized. Minister Szijjártó said that EU foreign ministers agreed that an increase in migration pressure can be expected in the long term as there are an additional 30-35 million potential migrants living in the vicinity of Europe. “The complex nature of the migration crisis requires a complex solution and all measures must focus on reducing the pressure on Europe,” the Hungarian foreign minister said.