Hungary's foreign minister has pledged his “full support and solidarity” to his Austrian counterpart concerning his recent comments on migration.
Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz “was right” to say that migration was “stoppable” if the EU were prepared to take appropriate action.
According to MTI, Kurz drew criticism from Chancellor Christian Kern and the press for saying in an interview that Italy should cease transferring migrants to the mainland by ferry after saving them from the Mediterranean.
The migration route on the Mediterranean via Libya and the Mediterranean to Italy should be sealed, Kurz said, and Austria is “preparing to defend” the Brenner Pass, the most significant border crossing between the two countries.
“The closing of the Western Balkan migrant route has proven [sealing the route] is possible," Kurz said.
Minister Szijjártó called for the revival of an Austro-Italian initiative to get the EU to contribute to the protection of the southern Libyan borders while creating hotspots on Libyan soil to vet asylum seekers before they reach Europe.
The EU should also aim to stop the boats before they leave the north African country, he said. The minister said that “Kurz is subject to robust attacks” due to his recent firm stand on migration. The fact that Kurz places the protection of Austria and his people in first place is “perfectly understandable," Minsiter Szijjártó said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s chief security advisor, György Bakondi, said Libya’s security and the closure of the Libyan migration route is increasingly becoming an outstanding European interest in view of the fact that huge numbers of people who are not political refugees have set out for Europe from Sub-Saharan Africa and many more are waiting in preparation.
“Economic migrants are setting out for Europe in the hope of a better life, and believe that If they succeed in crossing the Mediterranean, ‘usually with the help of NGOs and people smugglers’, then they can settle in Europe, but the Hungarian government does not agree," Bakondi said.
“This mass of people must be ‘intercepted’ in Libya, on the Mediterranean, or at Libya’s southern border," he said, adding that this is why several countries, including Hungary, have already put forward proposals at European Union level for the establishment of a European army, in view of the fact that the security issues that need solving, such as peacekeeping and border closure, require military action, not police action.