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Feb 13, 2019

Hungary and Bulgaria agree that the answer to demographic challenges is family support rather than migration

“We will never allow them [Brussels] to force us to change this approach [family support as opposed to migration],” Minister Szijjártó said

The foreign minister has said that Hungary and Bulgaria believe that the answer to demographic challenges is family support rather than migration.

Péter Szijjártó made the remarks following a meeting with Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister, Mariana Nikolova on Tuesday. “We will never allow them [Brussels] to force us to change this approach [family support as opposed to migration],” Minister Szijjártó said.

The minister also highlighted how Hungary and Bulgaria were in agreement regarding the most important issues, and Bulgaria continues to be Hungary’s strategic ally in terms of European issues.

The minister pointed out that Hungary and Bulgaria have faced many similar challenges in the recent period and have given similar responses to them. Both countries faced economic, security and demographic challenges and the responses by both governments have been successful, he added.

Minister Szijjártó said the two governments are in agreement that migration is not the right response to demographic challenges, and these should be solved through family support.

The minister added that the protection of external borders is also a priority for both countries. Bulgaria employs a serious border protection infrastructure to protect the EU’s external border and Hungary does the same. Building a fence has proven a successful response to security challenges in both countries, he added.

Minister Szijjártó noted that Bulgaria is not a Schengen member, and he lamented that despite the fact that Bulgaria has been able to protect its borders, it has been denied membership of the area. At the same time, there are Schengen member states that have been unable to protect their borders, he added.

Cooperation between Hungary and Bulgaria in border protection will be maintained. Last year, 44 Hungarian police served on the Bulgarian-Turkish border and Hungary also provided technical help for Bulgaria. Neither Bulgaria nor Hungary voted in support of the United Nations Global Migration Compact because it carries the threat of further waves of migrants, he said.