Rather than easing, the situation at the Hungarian border is getting worse as more and more illegal immigrants try to cross. So far this year, more than 235,000 illegal crossing attempts have been prevented by police and border guards, compared to almost half that number last year.
In addition to illegal migrants, the number of people smugglers caught by the police is also increasing. This year alone, 2,600 people smugglers have been caught by police, the Parliamentary Secretary of State of the Interior Ministry told M1 news channel on Monday morning. Bence Rétvári said that this is the highest number since the beginning of the migration crisis in 2015, and the detention of people smugglers alone costs the Hungarian budget three billion forints (EUR 7.5 million).
The politician pointed out that the Hungarian border is currently being reinforced, as those trying to cross are always trying new methods. As it turned out,
border protection has cost the Hungarian state almost 650 billion forints (EUR 1.6 billion) since 2015, while the European Union has only provided 2 percent of this amount.
According to Bence Rétvári, there could be political reasons for the EU’s low contribution.
“Not only are the costs not being paid, but we are under constant political attack: the umpteenth infringement and such-and-such procedure is being launched against Hungary,” the politician added.
The secretary of state also said that the number of border guards is constantly increasing, from around 500 in September to around a thousand today. Their work is especially important in these times when illegal migrants are using violent methods sometimes to cross the border. In connection with this, Bence Rétvári said on another program in Kossuth Radio that
shots are heard almost every day from the Serbian side, and migrants often threaten or throw stones at police officers.
“So it is not a refugee situation, but a battle situation, which is why there must be serious legal protection for border guards,” the politician stressed.
According to a report on public television channel M1, dozens of migrants are waiting on the Serbian side of the Hungarian-Serbian border for smugglers to take them to the European Union. The migrants told the reporter that although they had to clash with police in several places, this did not deter them. “The Hungarian police would not let us cross into Europe. This is a big problem for all of us,” said one man who has been to the Hungarian border several times. Now he is trying to cross into the EU from Bosnia, hoping to have better luck there.
In the meantime, the migration situation is a serious burden for Serbian residents, who live in daily fear of dozens of strangers. One local man complained that migrants are stealing, moving into abandoned houses and intimidating people.
Featured photo via MTI/AP/Ministry of Interior of Serbia