On Monday yet another Hungarian police unit left Hungary for Macedonia, to help police the Greek-Macedonian border in order to help illegal immigration prevention efforts, according to Hungarian wire service MTI. This coming year the Hungarian police will be sending units to Macedonia on a monthly rotation.
At a ceremony for the unit’s departure in Budapest, deputy police chief Zsolt Halmosi said that the 25-officer-strong unit “will mainly be carrying out border patrol tasks with their Macedonian colleagues.”
Addressing the contingent, Halmosi said that agreeing to this assignment was a great sacrifice on the part of each and every officer going, since they will be serving hundreds of kilometers away from their families and loved ones. In addition, Halmosi emphasized that this task was a great responsibility, as the officers will be representing not just the Hungarian police service, but all of Hungary during their time in Macedonia.
According to Halmosi, 385 Hungarian police officers participated in border patrol missions abroad in 2016; of those, 201 served in Macedonia. Serving as part of Frontex (the EU’s cooperative border security agency) missions, 72 Hungarian police have been sent to border patrol detachments in Slovenia, Serbia, and ten other EU member states as well in the past year.
Halmosi added that Hungary has once again offered to contribute 75 officers to Frontex efforts in 2017; the deputy police chief also praised his country’s efforts to increase border security, noting that while in 2015 more than 391,000 migrants had entered the EU illegally through the Hungarian border, that number was down to 18,200 for 2016. In addition, Halmosi said that approximately 8,500 migrants had been apprehended and sent back across the border following July’s tightening of border rules.
Via MTI and Hungary Matters
Image via MTI