FM: Food crisis fuelled by Ukraine war could lead to new migration waves

Péter Szijjártó urged greater support from the international community for countries in a difficult situation.

The foreign minister said the global food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine could lead to the emergence of new migration waves.

Speaking in New York on Thursday, Péter Szijjártó urged greater support from the international community for countries in a difficult situation. the minister is scheduled to address the United Nations Security Council’s debate on food security. He said Hungary will donate seed, ten tonnes of corn, five tonnes of potato and half a tonne of sunflowers to farmers in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region. Because Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s top grain exporters, their conflict will significantly reduce their exports, which will likely put countries already facing serious challenges into a more difficult situation, Minister Szijjártó said. This, he said, could lead to a rise of extremist ideologies in those places, increasing the threat of terrorism, which in turn threatened the emergence of new migration waves. Szijjártó said the war in Ukraine posed both a direct and indirect security risk to Hungary because of the proximity of the fighting and the influx of immigrants.

Minister Szijjártó is also scheduled to address a forum evaluating the UN’s global migration compact, where he will express the Hungarian government’s continued disagreement with the document. He said migration had resulted in the emergence of parallel societies and an increased threat of terrorism in western Europe, adding that migrants were incapable of integrating into western society and were “putting pressure on a society that’s been living there for centuries”. “It is clear that we, Hungarians were right,” Minister Szijjártó said. “Migration should not be encouraged but stopped, as this is what is in our security interest because a life of peace and security in one’s homeland is one of the most fundamental of human rights,” he added. “This is threatened by migration.” He said Hungary last year stopped some 130,000 illegal migrants on its southern border, adding that some 65,000 had been stopped this year already, indicating that migration pressure was on the rise again. Hungary is proud that it was one of the five countries to vote against the global migration compact at the end of 2018, he said. “There were few of us, but we ended up being right,” he added.

The ministry said later on Thursday that Minister Szijjártó had told the forum evaluating the UN’s global migration compact that Hungary was focusing on supporting families instead of receiving illegal migrants. “Hungary respects the approach of countries that consider migration as a tool to address demographic and labour market challenges but we apply a different approach,” he said. “We support families and send support to the places where it is needed in order to help locals live in dignity and security,” he added. “Just as we recognise the approach used by other countries, we expect others to respect our position and we implement our migration policy on the grounds of national sovereignty,” he said.

Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter