The European Union is “defenseless” against mass migration from the Middle East and the inflow of refugees constitutes the “most serious issue” the 28-nation trading bloc has faced since its founding, according to Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade Peter Szijjarto.
“If we don’t find a way to cut this defenselessness, then it’s going to be a real problem,” Szijjarto said in an interview in New York on Tuesday. The migration crisis will remain a problem “for years” and the number of people arriving will be greater in 2016 than in 2015, he said.
The unhindered access to Europe from countries such as Syria and Iraq has increased the threat of terror attacks, according to Szijjarto, who called the IS’s killing of 130 people in Paris in November “a gamechanger.” Europe’s refugee crisis is roiling politics across the continent, including in Hungary where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become the first EU leader to build a border fence to keep people out.
“If there is an unregulated and uncontrolled influx of thousands of people into the territory of the European Union on a daily basis, out of whom the majority is not checked, not controlled, not regulated, then it increases the terror threat, increases the security threat, that’s so obvious,” Szijjarto said.
The challenges of the refugee situation, the biggest migrant crisis in Europe since World War II, haven’t been addressed by the EU, Szijjarto said. He called the union’s leaders “hypocritical” in their approach to the situation as they have failed to respect the laws of the eastern countries most affected by the inflow of migrants as they make their way through the Balkans to northern Europe.
Europe needs to protect its outer borders, demand that refugees comply with the rules of the EU country they enter and then seek a solution to the complex “root causes” of the migration into the continent, including the war in Syria where about 260,000 people have died, Szijjarto said.
Russia, currently targeted by EU sanctions for its role in Ukraine, plays an important role in overcoming the Syrian crisis, the minister said. All major outside powers in the five- year-old conflict on Friday backed a truce that’s set to start on February 19.
“I really do believe that without an agreement made between the trans-Atlantic community and Russia, which practically means USA and Russia, without that agreement solving the Syrian crisis will be impossible,” Szijjarto said.