Foreign Minister calls for strengthening the EU's external borders

The foreign minister said the coronavirus pandemic may lead to new waves of migration.


The foreign minister has called for strengthening the protection of the European Union's external borders, arguing that the coronavirus pandemic may lead to new waves of migration.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that the bloc should work to eliminate all “external factors contributing to migration” and to “focus on the real problems of Europeans rather than encourage migration”. 

In regards to the EU’s relationship with Turkey, Minister Szijjártó called for a strategic approach within the EU, noting that the bloc’s 2016 migration agreement “has put the EU’s security into Turkish hands”. The EU has yet to fully pay the 6 billion euros it had agreed to pay to Turkey, he noted. Unless that happens shortly, Turkey may again open its borders towards Europe to the 4 million migrants currently on its territory, he warned.

The meeting also touched on the issue of the EU’s 2000 migration agreement with 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Minister Szijjártó said. Noting that the agreement was expiring this year, he called on the bloc to “rethink” prolonging it. The agreement focuses on regulating employment for people arriving in the EU. However, millions of Europeans had lost their jobs during the pandemic, he said.

Photo credit: Facebook - Péter Szijjártó