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Feb 22, 2016 - Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI

When Are We Finally Going to Talk About Security of European Citizens?

As long as people are entering Europe in an uncontrolled manner, we must primarily focus on the protection of the external EU borders, Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog stated on the political debate programme Im Zentrum of the Austrian television channel ORF2 late on Sunday night. He added that the protection of the borders guarantees the right to freedom and security in Europe.

Mr Balog highlighted: Europe must resolve the situation jointly. However, until a solution is implemented, there is no point in talking about a European refugee distribution system. The Minister spoke about emergency and urgency measures in the context of the construction of the fence in Hungary, and reiterated that they had already notified Brussels years earlier: Hungary is unable to resolve the refugee issue on its own. He stressed that Hungary fully observed all European regulations during the course of its procedures applied in relation to refugees.

Mr Balog takes the view, however, that the difficulties of integration are rarely mentioned. No one talks about what happens to the people arriving in Europe and what difficulties are entailed in coexistence, and there is likewise no mention made of fundamental problems such as what should be done in the refugees’ native countries. „When are we finally going to talk about the security of European citizens?”, the Minister asked with reference to the incidents which occurred in Cologne and Salzburg on New Year’s Eve.

Austrian Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner urged the resolution of the situation, and took the view that national measures are also necessary for finding a European solution. She highlighted that Austria must take in refugees; however, at this point in time, these people are not seeking asylum but are selecting the economically most attractive country. The Minister repeatedly rejected the letter of the European Commissioner for Migration of Saturday in which he criticised the stringent daily quotas imposed by Vienna on the entry of migrants. She underlined: Europe can only exist without internal borders if the external borders of the EU are secured.

Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament, MEP for the Austrian green party, believes that not all countries are prepared to resolve the situation. In her view, instead of the close unity of the Visegrád countries, everyone should concentrate on a common European solution. Lunacek also criticised the more stringent refugee measures adopted by Austria because, in her opinion, if Austria closes its borders, it only facilitates human trafficking.

Arno Kompatscher, Governor of South Tyrol, takes the view that if the borders are closed, Greece and Italy may be left to their own devices once and for all. He stressed that the problems should be resolved in the native countries of the refugees, and the measures adopted by the individual countries within their own competence do not amount to a solution.

Giorgios Hondros, member of the Central Committee of the Greek government party Syriza, argued: Greece is attempting to save the lives of refugees. He highlighted: the country is not in the position to select at its border whom to let into the country. The Greek politician takes the view that we should, at this point in time, not talk about the securing of the borders, but about the elimination of poverty and war in the countries of origin.