PM Orbán following three-party migration talks: Migration has become “increasingly difficult” with our southern borders “under siege”

During a three-party summit on migration earlier today in Budapest, the leaders of Hungary, Serbia and Austria sat down to discuss current trends and future tasks to fend off the increasing migration pressure.

In a press conference following talks between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, PM Orbán said the meeting showed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect ourselves against illegal migration. “The numbers are becoming more and more worrying, while there are the problems of the war, high energy prices and sanctions,” he said.

"We are now trying to face up to the situation and develop measures,” PM Orbán said, adding that there is migratory pressure from the east, and the border is also "under siege" from the south. He regrets that he did not see any change in Brussels' sanctions policy, which will bring about an economic downturn that could stimulate illegal migration.

"Migration has hit a new level in a qualitative way, with live ammunition being used against each other and against border guards. We are protecting the whole of Europe, we are fulfilling our Schengen obligations, but the aim is to push the line as far south as possible. We have been helping Serbia and North Macedonia, but now we need a new dimension of cooperation. There will be another meeting in Belgrade soon to put concrete steps into legal form, and a third meeting in Vienna," he said.

In PM Orbán’s view, three steps should be taken as soon as possible:

  • We must move the defense line, which is now on the Serbian-Hungarian border, as far south as possible, first to the Serbian-North Macedonian border.
  • Those who have arrived here illegally should be taken back to where they came from.
  • A hot spot should be created outside the EU. To do this, EU law must be changed so that asylum applications can only be lodged there.

Thanking the Hungarian PM for initiating the three-party dialogue on migration, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that "We reviewed all important and relevant issues on the steps to be taken in the energy and financial sectors. We are poorer than the other two countries; this winter and next spring will not be easy, but even the next winter will be a difficult period for us.”

Vučić expressed hope that Hungary and Austria will be able to convey Serbia’s voice to Brussels, even if the legal possibilities for Serbia to enter the European Union will change by the end of the year. "Serbia will be a reliable partner for its Hungarian and Austrian friends,” he said in closing.

Speaking to members of the press, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that "the problems affect us all, even though we [Austria] do not have an external EU border affected by migration. But we also offer protection and asylum to refugees.”

According to Nehammer, the three-member coalition will use technical cooperation to return migrants directly to where they came from and ensure that the same thing can happen on Serbia’s southern border.