Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér invited the group leaders of parliamentary parties for a consultation about the government’s planned anti-terrorism measures on April 1, the deputy group leader of ruling Fidesz said. Pintér announced last week that the government would submit to parliament a proposal on a package of anti-terrorism measures, including amendments to the constitution and related cardinal laws, with the aim to increase Hungary’s security in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Several elements of the anti-terrorism bill will require the support of twothirds of lawmakers.
The planned measures include allowing the interior ministry’s Coordination Centre Against Organised Crime direct access to data files to support prevention efforts, Gergely Gulyás said. They also include banning the use of communication tools that store classified information authorities have no way to access. Another measure would limit the civilian use of communications networks to allow smoother communication among authorities and agencies involved for instance in rescue operations after a terrorist attack. Further, the police would get broader powers in data management related to border control and guarding facilities. Pintér asked the parties to submit their proposals by Wednesday.
The Hungarian Interior Minister also said he lowered a heightened terrorism alert for the whole country to a medium level state at 1pm on Tuesday. The heightened alert was ordered last Tuesday, in wake of the terrorist blasts in Brussels. At that time, Sándor Pintér said the heightened alert would stay in effect “until it is established what exactly happened in Brussels and what can be expected in other European countries.”
Meanwhile the chief of staff of the Hungarian Army said that the country’s armed forces is prepared to dispatch more than 6,000 troops to protect the Hungary’s border should the migrant situation so require. There are currently about 2,000 law enforcement officers and soldiers patrolling Hungary’s southern borders, Tibor Benkő said after visiting the region over the weekend. Benkő said that the package of anti-terrorism measures the government is preparing assigns a number of tasks to the armed forces. These include patrolling, intelligence gathering, transport duties and, if need be, military operations.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photo: Gergely Botár