Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Thursday rejected in Luxembourg the criticism of his country entering the pre-election campaign in Croatia.
Szijjarto talked with Croatian journalists after the conference on eastern Mediterranean and West Balkan refugee routes said that improving cooperation between Hungary and Croatia in the refugee crisis was in mutual interest.
"It would be in mutual interest. I do not think it is a normal situation for two neighboring countries to have this kind of relationship. Of course, your Prime Minister has criticized Hungary a lot and we think that's part of the election campaign. We do not want to be part of your election campaign. Your prime minister does not even have to convince us because we will not vote in your election. I hope that after your election the situation will calm down and that your prime minister will put more emphasis on other internal issues if he continues to be prime minister, not criticizing the neighbors, "said Szijjarto.
He also rejected the claims that Hungary wants change of government in Croatia.
"We never mix in the elections in other countries. You can be sure we will respect the decision of Croatian citizens, "he says.
Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs Vesna Pusic explained on Thursday his outcry over who is credited with returning the Croatian train from Hungary as an attempt by the country to engage in Croatian elections. "This is an attempt by Hungary to engage in Croatian elections. Probably they think it would be easier for them to relate to some other things related to IN, that the HDZ is in power. I think it would be wise not to disagree with the Croatian elections, "said Minister Pusić in Luxembourg.
The head of the Hungarian diplomacy also criticized Croatian behavior in the refugee crisis.
"We've heard a lot of criticism from your prime minister that we do not treat migrants properly, but the Croatian system collapsed in one day. And the Croatian authorities are doing nothing but delivering migrants from the Croatian-Serbian border to the Croatian-Hungarian border. With 6 to 8 thousands of migrants per day, this is something that will become unbearable after a certain time, "said Szijjarto.
He also defended the Hungarian call to other countries of the Višegrad group to send their soldiers and police officers to help keep the borders.
"This was necessary because we have a very long border, and the Croatian authorities are doing nothing to stop the inflow into Hungary. Every day, five or six thousand people come to us, and how we have to comply with EU rules needs help. This is a very good example that Europe needs to follow. If the Visegrad Group can join forces to protect the border, then all 28 member countries, not just 4, could join forces at the Greek border, "said Szijjarto.
Szijjarto said that the return of the Croatian train, which remained confiscated in Hungary for several weeks, was linked to a visit by the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović to Budapest.
"There is a link between your President's visit and the decision to return the train," he said.
The Croatian president said in Budapest on Wednesday that, after her talks with Hungarian officials, the Hungarian side decided to return to Croatia a train that had been in its territory for three weeks. Subsequently, the Interior Ministry announced that it was agreed upon by 1. October at a meeting of police director of two countries.
Hungary has returned an unannounced Croatian train with migrants at the request of Croat President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the Hungarian government announced on Thursday, denying the Croatian police's contention that the return of the train was agreed by the leaders of the Croatian and Hungarian police.
Szijjarto also dismissed the criticism that Hungary was exposed for lifting the wire fence at the border.
He said that everyone in the EU says that the regulations have to be respected, and when asked whether they have any other solution than the wire they then answer denying.
"I think we have to stop with the hypocritical behavior in which the member states are seeking to apply EU regulations on the one hand, and on the other, they criticize them for doing so," says Szijjarto.