Hungary slams 'groundless' French criticism of border barrier
BUDAPEST - Agence France-Presse
The Hungarian foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, center, and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, front right, are seen after reopening a border crossing between the two countries in Horgos, Serbia, Friday, July 31, 2015. AP PhotoHungary on Aug. 30 lashed out at French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius over his criticism of the country's new anti-migrant border barrier, accusing him of "shocking and groundless" judgements.
In an interview with French radio on Aug. 30 morning Fabius said the razor-wire barrier, which runs the length of Hungary's border with Serbia, does "not respect Europe's common values".
Fabius also called "scandalous" the attitude of "a certain number of European countries, particularly in the east" who oppose a quota scheme for the distribution of migrants across EU member states. He did not name the countries targeted by that remark.
"Instead of shocking and groundless judgements, one should instead concentrate on finding common solutions for Europe," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement quoted by MTI news agency, adding that a French Embassy representative would be summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Aug. 31 over Fabius's remarks.
The Hungarian army at the weekend finished erecting its controversial barrier, which consists of three rolls of razor wire extending along its 175-kilometre border with non-EU member Serbia.
Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government is also building a four-metre-high fence and wants to stiffen penalties for people entering the country illegally.
The measures come as Hungary struggles to cope with record numbers of migrants and asylum seekers crossing through the country on their odyssey to western Europe.
Hungary has received almost 150,000 migrants so far this year, 50,000 this month alone, mostly crossing from Serbia.
"It appears that certain people in Europe are still not capable of understanding what astonishing and dramatic pressure Hungary is under from migration via the Western Balkans," Szijjarto accused.
The vast majority of the migrants entering Hungary, which is also a member of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, are bound for more prosperous EU countries such as Germany and Sweden.
"A good European is one who keep the rules of Europe," Szijjarto said.
"The Schengen rules clearly commit all EU members to protect their own and the outer borders of the EU. Hungary is doing this, and hence is also fulfilling its commitments to the union."