Migrant Flows Through Turkey Increasing Significantly, Hungary PM Warns

The government’s aim is for the Hungarian economy’s level of development to reach 85 percent of the average development level of the European Union by 2030, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told an international press conference on Thursday.

Commenting on the conflict between Iran and the United States, Orban said the Hungarian troops serving in Iraq were “as safe as soldiers can be.”

Some of the military bases with Hungarian soldiers have suffered missile attacks, the prime minister said, adding, however that none of them have been injured.

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He said a high-ranking Hungarian officer has arrived in Iraq and was now in command of the Hungarian mission. All conditions are in place to evacuate the Hungarian troops if necessary, Orban said.

He added however that the Hungarian soldiers are stationed in Iraq on basis of a bilateral agreement, and they would “continue meeting their obligations” until the Iraqi government terminates that accord.

He said Hungary’s foreign minister is scheduled to attend a meeting with his EU counterparts on Friday in an effort to agree on a joint European position on the conflict.

On the topic of migration, Orban said the government has decided to send more soldiers and police officers to the Hungarian-Serbian border in light of the increased pressure of migration there. He added the daily average of illegal entry attempts into Hungary topped 100.

If necessary the other three Visegrad Group countries are ready to help beef up Hungary’s border security, he said, adding that Hungary stands ready to send a police continent to help patrol the border of North Macedonia.

Citing data from the Turkish authorities, he said some 450,000 illegal migrants had entered Turkey last year, up 70 percent from 2018.

The number of migrants en route to Greece has also increased significantly, as has the migration pressure along the Balkan route, he added. But with that route becoming harder to navigate, given the poor weather conditions, more and more migrants are arriving at the Hungarian-Serbian border in an attempt to enter Europe, he said.

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In response to a question concerning migration, he said there was no need to change the current border protection system.

He said the European Union did not regard migrants being kept in transit zones at the Hungarian border as detention, so the current legal system of border protection need not be changed.

In response to a question on migrant quotas, he said a historic tension between pro-migration and anti-migration counties would not disappear because two groups with very different mindsets were fighting each other in Europe.

Hungary belongs in the anti-migration group and will continue to protect its position accordingly, he said.

The job of the EU is to make sure that countries with different visions for their future should still be able to cooperate politically and intellectually, he said. He added, however, that he expected political disputes on the topic to endure.

You can read this article as it originally appears at Hungary Journal here.

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(PHOTO: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)

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