Despite all illegal migration attempts, law enforcement agencies will protect the borders of Hungary and the European Union as well as the security of Hungarian and European people.

In an interview given to the newspaper Magyar Hírlap, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister György Bakondi said the number of those attempting to enter Hungary illegally on the southern border section has exceeded thirteen thousand, and has doubled compared with last year. In addition to the Serbian border section, “this year, we are also observing activity on our borders with Romania and Croatia. On the Romanian border section 468, while on the Croatian border 294 persons have attempted to enter the territory of Hungary illegally this year. In the case of both, already now the number of illegal entry attempts is more than double compared with the whole of last year,” Mr Bakondi stated.

He also said in Croatia, with effective financial assistance from the EU, a sophisticated border protection system has been installed which is very similar to the Hungarian, and “in response to this, the chances of potential border violators have significantly deteriorated”. “People smuggling organisations, too, are aware of this, and so migrants are returning from Bosnia to Serbia, and from there either they try their luck towards Romania, or head for the southern border fence,” he said.

There has also been a change in the nationality composition of immigrants, the chief security advisor pointed out. While in 2017 and 2018 there was a decrease in the number of Syrian asylum-seekers and increasingly Afghans, Pakistanis and Iranians constituted the bulk of immigrants, today we are observing a repeated increase in the percentage of Syrians among illegal border-crossers apprehended at the Hungarian border. This shows that the changes that have taken place in Turkey have induced them to set out again, he stressed.

Mr Bakondi highlighted that, with the entry into office of the new European Commission, “one may observe that nation states have begun to lay more emphasis on border protection, have tightened the filtering of new arrivals as well as the conditions of entry, residence and the granting of refugee status, and have made particular changes to the financial background of the latter.”

The Hungarian position is “consistent, we do not support any mandatory quotas, we do not agree with the idea that we should be told from some Brussels headquarters whom we should live together with. We are not partners in any of these schemes, but we do cooperate in the protection of the external borders and the repatriation of persons residing in the territory of Europe who are not eligible for protection. We are also ready to provide assistance for the countries from which migrants are setting out for Europe in the largest numbers,” he pointed out.

He also said that while after lengthy consultations the European Commission pledged to reimburse ten per cent of Hungary’s border protection costs, “so far Hungary has not received a penny of this sum”.