Varga: Hungary won’t accept migrant quotas

Hungary does not accept migrant quotas being forced on member states, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said in Brussels on Tuesday, calling it “harmful and unreasonable” that the European Union’s new asylum package would fine countries that refuse to accommodate migrants 20,000 euros per migrant.

Speaking to reporters after the Council of the EU approved all 10 legislative parts of the new migration and asylum pact, Varga said Hungary would join other member states in refusing to carry out the measures laid down in the pact, as it believes other methods were needed to handle migration.

“We should be taking the solutions to the [migrant] origin countries instead of importing the problem to Europe and sending invitations to migrants,” Varga said.

The minister said change was needed in the EU because Brussels was “relentless” when it came to the issue of migration.

He said the fence Hungary built on its southern border had so far cost taxpayers 700 billion forints (EUR 1.8bn), adding that he had turned to the European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, who still refused to approve support from the Commission for the fence.

Concerning the Council of the EU’s approval of a long-term 50 billion euro aid package for Ukraine, Varga said Hungary believed that the same regulations should apply to the utilisation of these resources that applied to EU funding in any other field.

He called for EU aid to be channelled to Transcarpathia too, as the region had been under increased pressure due to the war and displaced Ukrainians.

Varga said Ukraine had not fulfilled recommendations concerning human rights and national minorities, including those of the Venice Commission, that were tied to the funds, adding that Ukraine was expected to accept the EU’s fundamental values alongside the EU aid.

As regards the EU accession of the Western Balkan countries, Varga said their economic growth offered the bloc a chance to improve its competitiveness in relation to other continents.

He said foreign investment in the Western Balkan countries was constantly growing and household consumption was also picking up.

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