Minister says he got lost in Brussels, feared for his life

Interview

kormany.hu/Gergely Botár

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó described being lost in a Brussels neighborhood that so intimidated him he felt the need to run for his life, though he would not say what had frightened him, according to an interview published today by index.hu. Szijjártó implied that limiting migration can prevent such neighborhoods from developing in Hungary.

If somebody “loses their way in Brussels, going astray by only two streets”, they might need “to run for their lives”, Szijjártó (pictured) said according to index.hu. “It is not an exaggeration, I have been in such a situation.”

Szijjártó said the event that frightened him occurred when he was already a minister, and went for a run in Brussels. “I made a mistake and started running in the wrong direction. Migration was not like it is now back then, but now our migration policies are appreciated by me much more,” the minister said, according to index.hu.

Asked whether he truly felt the need to run for his life, Szijjártó reportedly said “I was running much faster than I had thought I had been able to”, but he would not give specifics as to any perceived threat.

Szijjártó was discussing an advertising campaign that promotes the Hungarian governmentʼs October referendum to oppose quotas of asylum seekers. European Union leaders in Brussels have said that member states should be required to take a certain number of refugees, but Hungaryʼs government opposes this plan, and it will hold a referendum that would let citizens share their opposition.

Szijjártó noted that the governmentʼs ad campaign says “we address Brussels”, but he wanted to point out that the ads refer to EU leadership, not the general populace, for whom he feels sympathy. “There are things for which Brussels could be felt sorry for”, the minister said, according to index.hu.

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