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Dec 19, 2017

Hungary to help protect Macedonia's border until October 2018

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that from the point of view of security it is crucial that the western Balkans migration route continues to remain closed

Hungary’s foreign minister has said that cooperation with Macedonia is important for the issue of migration, the economy and the enlargement of the European Union and NATO.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that from the point of view of security it is crucial that the western Balkans migration route continues to remain closed.

The minister said that any change in the region that makes it easier to cross borders will only encourage hundreds of thousands more to set off for Europe.

Macedonia’s government has confirmed that its migration policy will remain unchanged and that it will only allow entry to those who have all their documents in order, he added.

The minister also announced that Hungary will continue to station a 30-strong police unit in Macedonia to help out with patrolling along the Greek border until October 2018. The next Hungarian contingent is scheduled to arrive in Macedonia on January 10th.

Hungary is also providing Macedonia with equipment, and the Hungarian government has already provided the country with 100 km of razor wire, computers and fingerprint scanners, the minister added.

Minister Szijjártó also underlined the importance of EU and NATO enlargement. “Some in western Europe still don’t understand the importance of having peace and stability in the western Balkan region,” he said.

The minister said the key to easing tensions in the region was speeding up its Euro-Atlantic integration. Hungary will continue to push for speeding up Macedonia’s integration, he said.

Minister Szijjártó also revealed that bilateral trade turnover between the two countries grew by 47 percent over the first nine months of the year. In comparison, trade turnover grew by 45 percent over the whole of 2016.