Moves by Matteo Salvini to close Italy’s ports to NGOs collecting illegal migrants from smuggler boats and ferrying them to Europe are “game-changing”, according to the Hungarian government.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News Network’s Amanda House, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó praised the League leader — who serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in Italy’s new populist government — as a “very serious person”.
“His decision not to allow ships operated by so-called NGOs full of illegal migrants to enter any Italian harbour is a real gamechanger because that decision of Mr. Salvini has proven that yes, it is possible to protect the maritime border [of the European Union],” he explained.
“I find it really tragical, or frustrating, that so far the European Union has taken it as a fact that the maritime border in the Mediterranean Sea cannot be protected.
“Yes, it can be. Look at the Australians: they have a longer maritime border than the whole Mediterranean Sea, and they are able to protect it,” he added.
“So, I think it’s a gamechanger of the perspective of European migration policy, what has been going on in Italy after the latest elections.”
Szijjártó revealed that his country was being put under “very serious pressure” by the European Union to accede to its demands to accept centrally distributed migrant quotas — the solution the bloc came up with after the unilateral decision of Germany’s Angela Merkel to invite anyone claiming to be a Syrian refugee to come to Europe resulted in an overwhelming influx.
Hungary was able to resist the quotas by uniting with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to oppose them — “because we will never give up our own right to make the decision on our own who we allow to come,” he explained.
Szijjártó warned that the quota scheme was being interpreted as an “invitation” by illegal migrants, and helping the business model of people-smugglers to be successful.
“But as soon as we say, ‘No, the only way to come to Europe is the legal way,’ and we regain the ability to control the external border, and we establish ‘hotspots’ outside of the European Union where the decision is made whether you are eligible for asylum status, I’m pretty sure that the influx will decrease very significantly.
“The problem is that the European leaders only speak about the necessity of the protection of the external borders, they only speak about the possibility to establish hotspots outside the territory of the EU, but nothing really happens in this regard,” he added regretfully.
Here again, the Hungarian foreign minister appeared to be in agreement with Salvini, who recently returned from a high-profile mission to Libya, where he hammered out an agreement with the UN-backed government that migrant processing centres should be established at the country’s southern borders, far from the Mediterranean coast.
Italy’s Salvini Jets to Libya, Negotiates Deal to Stop Illegal Migrants at Country’s Southern Border https://t.co/tnq4t4hM4i
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 26, 2018