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Government Official: Central Europe Serves As Transit Route Both For Immigrants And For Extremists

Tamás Székely 2015.02.11.

Terrorism and illegal migration are issues that for Hungary, in its particular position, cannot be handled separately, a government official said in Brussels. Central Europe is a “sensitive” region since it serves as a transit route for extremists travelling to the Middle East, Szabolcs Takács, cabinet state secretary for European affairs, said after attending a preparatory meeting for an informal EU summit. “That is why I said that Hungary cannot handle terrorism separately from illegal migration.”

Hungary supports strengthening cooperation in security and terrorism issues in the EU as well as a planned European parliamentary debate on sharing passenger databases and other information aimed at filtering out individuals posing potential risk, he said. Freedoms ensured by the EU Schengen system, such as the freedom of movement, should not be denied, however. “The biggest challenge for us is that the external borders of the EU, the Schengen system included, must be strengthened and protected.” Takács said he informed the other EU affairs ministers at the meeting about the serious problem illegal immigration poses to Hungary.

Meanwhile,  Antal Rogán, parliamentary group leader of ruling Fidesz, called for a significant tightening of immigrationrules in light of a recent upsurge of illegal immigrants arriving in Hungary. Rogán held a press conference at Budapest’s Keleti railway station, where several hundred illegal immigrants attempted to travel to the west recently. He called it “alarming” that the number of illegal immigrants will soon surpass 23,000 since the start of the year. This contrasts with fully 43,000 who applied for asylum in 2014, he noted. Immigration laws should be changed so illegal immigrants can be kept in detention until a final decision on asylum is made. If asylum is denied, immediate deportation should follow, he said.

via hungarymatters.hu photo: map of Central Europe (wikitravel.org)