Cooperation is all the more necessary because all three countries are on the frontline of migration and the biggest migration pressure since 2015 is being felt this year.Continue reading
The Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, and Austrian interior ministers agree on the need to protect the EU’s external borders and on the need for the EU to send back migrants who do not qualify for asylum.
“We have to protect our external borders to ensure peace and security within the Schengen internal borders,” Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér said at a joint press conference with his Austrian, Czech, and Slovak counterparts in Bratislava on Monday.
Hungary has taken the same position on illegal migration since 2015, Pintér recalled. “In 2015, when 391,000 people arrived in Hungary uninvited, we built a fence and since then we have been continuously protecting the external, Schengen borders of the European Union,” he said.
He said that this year has been the strongest in terms of illegal migration since 2015: 100 000 illegal migrants were turned back from the border or deported from the country so far. In addition, there are already 2,000 people smugglers who have been convicted or are awaiting punishment.
The head of the Hungarian interior ministry thanked Austria and the Czech Republic for their help in protecting Hungary’s Schengen external border and said he was confident that the new cooperation agreements would help.
Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulec described Monday’s meeting as very constructive and said they agreed on the need to strengthen the protection of the external borders and to stop illegal migration outside the Schengen area, which also requires the EU’s involvement. “Frontex must do what it was created to do,” he said. He stressed that the European Commission must work to improve the effectiveness of the return of illegal migrants, and called for joint pressure to be exerted on the EC.
Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakusan said the basic message of the meeting was that illegal migration must be tackled at a European level. “The situation is unsustainable,” he warned.
“Cross-border crime requires cross-border solutions,” Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said, pointing out that the strengthening of external borders is the most important issue at the moment and that Austria will send police officers to reinforce border surveillance.
Featured photo via MTI/Rosta Tibor