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Jul 11, 2016

NATO lends its support to Hungary's migrant crisis

Hungary has won NATO’s support to back the fight against illegal migration and that the external borders must be protected

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that following a Hungarian initiative NATO is assisting in the fight against migration.

On Saturday, after PM Orbán attended a two-day North Atlantic Council meeting at the NATO summit in Warsaw, he said that Hungary sought to ensure that the organization “becomes involved in European efforts at halting illegal migration."

PM Orbán added that “we have won NATO’s support to back our side: […] we stated that illegal migration must be stopped, that the external borders must be protected, and that the uncontrolled influx brings with it risks which are not only of a civilian nature, but also affect military security”.

He added that it is in NATO’s best interest to eliminate this phenomenon, and that therefore NATO will also mobilize certain capabilities – primarily for the protection of the sea borders.

Regarding the NATO-Ukraine meeting, PM Orbán said that Hungary has always supported its eastern neighbor’s efforts to integrate into this security and defense system, “but this idea does not have majority support here."

As an example of this, at the NATO summit in Bucharest members voted against Ukraine’s accession, and “therefore this issue is not on the agenda today” because “views on this subject are sharply divergent”, as “Ukraine is a country in a difficult situation, and we cannot see how in the short term it could be westernized – either in terms of economic functioning, public administration or defense."

“Although we are intent on this, to date our results have been poor, rather than promising –bearing in mind the time invested," the prime minister said, adding that the attendees were strongly in favor of Macedonia’s urgent accession, as rejecting this would be “a strategic error for which we might have to pay a high price later."

He added that Hungary also has a basic interest in Macedonia joining NATO after Montenegro, another Balkan country.