The Hungarian government will double the number of soldiers patrolling the borders “in light of increasing migration pressure”, Szilárd Németh, state secretary at the defence ministry, told a press conference on Sunday.
Németh spoke at the border police base at Madaras, in south-eastern Hungary, and said that last year, the number of illegal entrants had grown almost tenfold, to 3,299. He added that the authorities expected that number to grow further.
Németh said that Hungarian soldiers had been patrolling the borders with police officers since 2015.
Gábor Böröndi, deputy commander of the Hungarian Army (on the left) and state secretary Szilárd Németh. Photo by Edvárd Molnár/MTI
Lieutenant general Gábor Böröndi, deputy commander of the Hungarian Army, said that the number of soldiers in the border control mission would increase from 50 to 100 on Monday. With auxiliary staff included, the move will bring the total number to 500, he said. He added that the measure would be in force “as long as necessary”.
Number of illegal migrants entering Hungary doubled in 2019
Last year the number of illegal entrants to Hungary grew by 2.6 times compared to 2018, the leader of the Hungarian police’s border patrol forces said on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference on the state of illegal migration to Hungary, László Balázs said migration pressure was particularly strong at the end of the year, with some 1,400 migrants arriving in Hungary between December 16 and 22. Another 803 were apprehended between January 1 and 5, 2020, he said.
Illegal migration was on the rise everywhere along the border of the Schengen area, especially on the Serbian and Romanian border sections, Balázs said.
Brigadier-General László Garas of the Hungarian Armed Forces said the number of soldiers serving on the borders had been doubled over the past few days. Drones and helicopters are also deployed in reconnaissance, he said.