Hungary believes the time has come for European solidarity to be manifested in border protection as well, namely for the European Union to make a contribution to the extraordinary expenditures incurred by Hungary which also serve common European interests, Takács Szabolcs, Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office said in a telephone interview given to the Hungarian news agency on Monday.

Before his planned Tuesday talks with the European Commission concerning the settlement of border protection expenditures, the Minister of State pointed out Hungary requests the EU to contribute to its border protection expenditures. If earlier the European Commission provided assistance for Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Spain with the financing of their burdens caused by excess border protection efforts and the migration crisis, bearing in mind the principle of fair and equal treatment, Hungary, too, has every reason to expect help from the EU.

He underlined the Hungarian government’s migration policy is based on the robust protection of EU borders and the preservation of the achievements of the Schengen regime. It has represented this position, which is based on the protection of borders, in the migration and asylum dispute with the European Union for three years.

The Minister of State highlighted the Hungarian government takes the view that the protection of the European Union’s external borders is a value which also means the protection of European heritage and the preservation of the continent’s stability. When the European Commission proposed the distribution of immigrants among Member States, Hungary decided to take action and reinforce the protection of the country’s borders, which are also the EU’s southern and Schengen borders, with the fence built on the Hungarian-Serbian and Hungarian-Croatian border sections.

“We observed the provisions of the Schengen Agreement to the letter, and protected Europe’s security. We therefore believe that it’s fair for us not to have to cover these expenditures on our own”, Mr Takács said. With its border protection efforts Hungary contributed to protecting not only itself, but all the countries of Europe. Since the outbreak of the migration crisis in 2015, this has resulted in extraordinary expenditures amounting to minimum HUF 270 billion, that is more than EUR 883 million, he added.

He said in addition to the reimbursement of the costs of border protection incurred to date, Hungary has also set out to formulate an agreement with the European Commission regarding permanent contributions to maintenance and operating costs emerging in the future. Hungary seeks to ensure that no double standards are applied in this instance either. What is due to one country is also due to Hungary, Mr Takács pointed out.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)