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Hungary's migrant crisis is the result of a series of irresponsible statements and actions by European politicians, and a sign of the failure of the European Union's immigration policy, according to Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto.
Gripped by an unprecedented influx of undocumented immigrants using the country as a gateway to more prosperous EU countries, Hungarian authorities have allowed several thousand migrants bottled up in the country, including in a squalid encampment outside the Budapest's main train station, to make their way to the Austrian border, with the Austrian chancellor announcing Friday night that they would be allowed into Austria and Germany.
Speaking to reporters ahead of an informal meeting of the EU's foreign ministers, Szijjarto explained that "what has been happening in Hungary since last night is the result of two things. Firstly, it is the result of the failure of the EU's immigration policy. Secondly, it is the result of a series of irresponsible statements by European politicians."
Asked by reporters to clarify who was responsible for making such statements, the foreign minister noted that "everyone has heard the declarations about the procedures for asylum being initiated regardless of how it is that migrants arrive in certain countries."
Szijjarto explained that "European-wide standards clearly state that the procedure for granting asylum must be considered in the country in which it was filed. Such statements [indicating the opposite] might be misunderstood by migrants and their smugglers."
The minister said that as far as Hungary is concerned, refugees refusing to comply with the requirements set by Hungarian authorities have now begun to make their way to railways and highways. "An emergency situation took place, and so we have decided to put them on buses and to take them to the Austrian border, where they wanted to go," he noted.
The minister's words follow on commentary by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday, where the leader warned that the Schengen Agreement on the free movement of people is now "under threat" due to the migrant crisis. Orban noted that Hungarians and Europeans are now "full of fear…because we see that the European leaders, among them the prime ministers, are not able to control the situation."
Last week, Hungary completed the construction of the first stage of its 177 km-long fence with Serbia to deter migrants from illegally crossing the country's border. With Budapest estimating that over 156,000 migrants have entered the country illegally since the beginning of the year, Prime Minister Orban has warned that Hungary would also build a barrier on its border with Croatia, if undocumented immigrants began arriving from that direction.
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