FM: Hungary counts on Austria’s support

The foreign minister said that Austria was among EU countries that took action against illegal migration.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told Hungarian public media in Vienna that when it comes to combatting illegal migration and supporting the EU accession bids of Western Balkan countries, Hungary counts on Austria’s support.

Following talks with Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg, part of a series of consultations aimed at preparing the ground for Hungary’s EU presidency in the second half of the year, the foreign minister said that Austria was among EU countries that took action against illegal migration. Hungary wants European regulations to be in line with international law so that temporary refugee stays are in the first safe country, noting that Hungary allowed people fleeing the war in Ukraine to seek refuge but kept out illegal migrants who had passed through 3-5 safe countries.
Szijjártó called for a turnaround in Brussels, adding that the EU should not import problems from far away but help to solve them at their root. Africa’s population was growing exponentially, he noted. Instead of tempting Africans to relocate, the EU should make investments, and nurture development and training locally, he said. Hungary, he added, supported the development of African countries to the tune of several 10 million dollars, providing education scholarships for “many thousands” of African students. Meanwhile, regarding the EU integration of Western Balkan countries, the minister said the bloc was in need of fresh dynamism, which the region could provide, so the pace of the accession process must be speeded up. This, he added, was one of the goals of Hungary’s EU presidency. Regarding bilateral matters, Minister Szijjártó said Hungary and Austria were a reliable, predictable and fair partner in terms of energy supply, with 20 percent of Hungary’s annual gas consumption arriving via Austria. Both countries see energy supply as a pragmatic rather than an ideological issue, he said. Hungary, he said, supports Austria’s candidacy for membership of the UN Security Council in 2027-28. The minister said he met the Austrian Freedom Party’s general secretary and the party’s members of the Vienna parliament’s Hungarian-Austrian friendship group. He also met the head of the Austrian Manufacturers Association.