Hungary’s migration policy and border protection measures have been successful in protecting the country and ensuring the safety of its people, the prime minister’s chief domestic security advisor said on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference at the Kelebia border crossing on the Serbian-Hungarian border, György Bakondi noted that the Hungarian authorities apprehended 45,500 illegal migrants at the border last year and launched criminal proceedings against 455 people smugglers, a significant increase from the previous three years.
So far this year, a total of 56 people smugglers have been arrested, Bakondi said, noting that the migration pressure on Hungary seen over the past year was now getting even more intense.
He said that in addition to border protection, Hungary’s migration policy also encompassed providing aid to other countries with the aim of keeping the main migration routes closed, while Hungarian police officers are helping to patrol the North Macedonian border.
Hungary also cooperates with Europol and European border agency Frontex in tracking down people smuggling networks. Hungary shows solidarity towards all countries working to prevent migrant groups from setting off towards Europe, Bakondi said. Hungary has also provided financial and other forms of aid to cities and towns destroyed in the Syrian civil war, he added.
Hungary expects the Portuguese European Union presidency to take notice of the experiences of countries like those forming the Visegrad Group and break with policy positions that support mandatory migrant settlement quotas, open borders and “legalising” illegal entrants, Bakondi said, arguing that these proposals posed serious risks.
Defence ministry state secretary Szilárd Németh said Hungary had spent a total of 561 billion forints (EUR 1.6bn) on its border protection measures since 2015. He said it was “unacceptable” that the EU had so far “not helped cover even one percent” of those costs.
“We have had to fight against a rule-of-law procedure being launched against Hungary and against our own left wing and the Brussels bureaucrats yelling at us to tear down the border fence and let everyone in,” Nemeth said. The state secretary argued that Hungary’s border protection measures were also keeping the rest of Europe safe.
featured image: the border at Kelebia; via Tibor Rosta/MTI