The prolongation of the state of crisis due to mass immigration in the territory of Hungary is justified. The past six months demonstrate that we have succeeded in protecting the Hungarian people’s security with the legal rules applied on the basis of the state of crisis, Károly Kontrát, Minister of State at the Ministry of Interior stated at the meeting of the Defence and Police Committee of Parliament.

At the meeting, members of the Committee were given an account of the state of crisis imposed due to mass immigration.

Mr Kontrát said: according to the latest proposal, they wish to extend the state of crisis to the entire territory of the country, as has been the case also to date, as facts show that the system only works if the relevant regulations are applied throughout the country. He stressed: the state of crisis has not caused the Hungarian people any disadvantage, it serves the country’s best interests, and therefore the relevant legislation which will cease to have effect on 8 March would continue to remain applicable in the entire country.

Lajos Kósa, the President of the Committee stressed in the debate: the pressure of migration is perceivable not only on the southern and eastern borders of the country, but also from the direction of Austria and Slovenia as these countries attempt to send the illegal migrants staying in their territories back to Hungary.

Zsuzsanna Végh, Director General of the Immigration and Asylum Office said at the meeting: last year, there were attempts in more than 50 thousand cases to send back migrants from other Member States of the European Union to Hungary, with reference to the fact that they first entered the territory of the EU in Hungary. They received specific requests in connection with specific individuals in 43 thousand cases, and the responsibility of Hungary was investigated in a further more than 10 thousand cases. She added: the authority has received some one thousand return requests already this year, and Sweden indicated that they wish to return four thousand people to Hungary as Hungary registered their biometric identifiers first.

We dispute this, she remarked, adding that these people first entered the territory of the EU in Greece, and the Bulgarian authorities, too, registered their data. Hungary consequently does not take these people back, and as a result, the number of returned individuals has decreased significantly.

National police chief commissioner Károly Papp said at the meeting that the national application of the state of crisis is necessary on account of people smuggling and illegal migration.

The chief commissioner reported that in the last two weeks, Austria wanted to return 58 and 22 people to Hungary, respectively. Citing Frontex’s risk analysis, the chief commissioner said that, according to estimates, there are 60 thousand illegal migrants in Greece, and some 10 to 12 thousand in Serbia. In North-Africa 3 million and in Turkey a further 3 million people are waiting to set out. The Hungarian-Serbian border will remain affected in the short term beyond doubt, and migration may shift towards Croatia, he said.

He further told the Committee that criminal procedures have been instituted against 32 people smugglers this year. There are ongoing proceedings against 12 criminal organisations, involving 114 Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Pakistani and Iraqi suspects who took part in the trafficking of some 230 to 280 individuals.

Last year, criminal procedures instituted against 15 criminal organisations were closed. There were 208 suspects in those cases who were involved in the smuggling of 4,000-4,500 people.

He also said that there have been 104 border breaches at Hungary’s external Schengen border this year (more than 2,700 last year), and between 1 January and 28 February, 6,340 individuals attempted to enter the territory of the country. Between Wednesday midnight and six in the morning, the police detained 81 persons. The individuals were mostly from Pakistan and Iraq, single men between the ages of 20 and 25 years.

The police chief told the Committee that 984 persons are attending border guarding training courses at present. Phase four of the training began on Wednesday with the participation of 189 individuals. 248 applicants have already undergone the preliminary assessment, and this means that there are now 1,421 officers out of the planned three thousand.

The Committee approved the report with one abstention.