- 5 Sep 2017 8:46 AM
Referring to the wave of migrants that set off from Budapest on foot in September 2015, Angela Merkel said in Sunday’s debate with Martin Schulz, her Social Democrat rival: “Orbán took away the tickets from the refugees in Budapest and did not let the trains leave”. She added that behind her decision to accept the migrants was the fear that “Hungary won’t show solidarity in aiding the refugees”.
Szijjártó told a press conference that “train tickets do not override European law,” and only those with valid travel documents had been allowed to leave Hungary westwards.
He said the only exceptions were when the Austrian or German chancellors “expressed a different view on the issue ... Their reasons in doing so are their own affairs.”
Hungary is providing aid to illegal migrants defined under international law, the minister said, adding that in order to benefit, migrants would have to turn up at the “lawfully designated stations”.
Commenting on the fact that Hungary had become a topic of the debate, Szijjártó said called it an “honour” for the country and recognition that Germany was “finally aware of the efforts Hungary is making to fulfil its commitments to the bloc by protecting itself and Europe”. Szijjártó said he expected Hungary to “be the subject of further discussions”, because the country intended to carry on fulfilling its commitments.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó announced that British finance minister Philip Hammond will visit Hungary next week to discuss the economic impact of Brexit with the Visegrad Group’s foreign trade ministers.
Asked about North Korea, the minister said the hermit kingdom presented one of the gravest threats facing the world today, saying that the US president and his administration were right to take it more seriously than in the past. Until now, the international community tended to underestimate the North Korean threat, but by now it has clearly become one that warrants the firmest international response, Szijjártó said.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: KKM