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Gov’t Wants to Bring Back ‘Transit Zones’ for Migrants

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.10.21.

Hungary will ask Brussels to amend European Union regulations in order to enable bringing back transit zones for migrants, the prime minister’s chief of staff said.

He told a regular press briefing that Hungary would submit proposals at the two-day EU summit in Brussels. Restoring transit zones is the most effective method of defending against migration, Gulyás said, adding that migration pressure had increased considerably.

According to the Hungarian proposal, all requests for refugee status should be assessed outside the EU because it is very difficult to deport anyone who has already entered the bloc, he said.

Migration Debate Between State Sec. Orbán, Pro-Migration Assoc. Leader Kováts, and Economist Caplan
Migration Debate Between State Sec. Orbán, Pro-Migration Assoc. Leader Kováts, and Economist Caplan

Orbán noted that migration can be a political weapon that could weaken affected countries. However, Caplan believes that "It's paranoid to think that everyone is against us and wants to attack us."Continue reading

So far this year a total of 91,500 migrants have attempted to cross into Hungary illegally as against 28,000 in the first nine-and-a-half months in 2020, he said. Gulyás noted that the Czech Republic has sent a 50-strong police continent to Hungary to help the local forces patrol the borders.

He said Brussels should be helping, rather than punishing member states that protect their borders. The EU “has yet to contribute a single cent” to financing the costs of Hungary’s border fence, “even though it also protects the EU’s borders”, he added. Gulyás said the EU had so far contributed 7 billion forints to the 588 billion Hungary has spent so far on border protection.

“This is unacceptable,” he said. “Instead of receiving political support, Hungary was faced with political attacks from Brussels.”

Last year, he Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that keeping asylum seekers in the transit zone constitutes “detention”. The court acknowledged that under EU directives, member states may detain applicants for international protection, but said that “detention may not under any circumstances exceed four weeks from the date on which the application was lodged”. After this, the Orbán government decided to close down its transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

CJEU: Placing Asylum Seekers in Hungary Transit Zone Constitutes 'Detention'
CJEU: Placing Asylum Seekers in Hungary Transit Zone Constitutes 'Detention'

The court acknowledged that under EU directives, member states may detain applicants for international protection, but said that "detention may not under any circumstances exceed four weeks."Continue reading

Featrued photo illustration by Tibor Rosta/MTI