The Hungarian government finds it unfair that Brussels would only reimburse Hungary for barely more than one per cent of its border protection expenses, Government Spokesperson István Hollik told journalists on Monday in Budapest.

He said the Brussels Commission responded to the Hungarian government’s request after more than two years, and only pledged to pay a sum of HUF 6.6 billion.

He recalled that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán contacted President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in 2017, asking the Commission to reimburse, in the spirit of oft-cited solidarity, one half of the costs of the construction of the fence and of Hungary’s ongoing border protection efforts.

He said since the construction of the fence in 2015, the Hungarian government has spent HUF 504 billion on border protection. He highlighted that so far the pro-immigration Brussels leadership has done everything it could to play for time, and to not have to contribute to Hungary’s border protection expenses. Their goal was to legalise migration, and to bring as many immigrants to Europe as possible, the Government Spokesperson added.

According to Mr Hollik’s information, the departing Commission has now decided to reimburse EUR 20 million, the equivalent of HUF 6.6 billion, from the expenses Hungary has incurred. This sum can only be spent this year on financing the staff patrolling the Hungarian-Serbian border section.

He stressed that the Hungarian government is hopeful that, in contrast to the incumbent pro-immigration Commission, the new European Commission to take office in November will regard the protection of the EU’s external borders as a primary task, and will be prepared to support Member States, including Hungary, so that the emphasis should be on stopping migration, rather than organising it.

If necessary, the same as to date, Hungary will continue to protect Europe’s Schengen borders against illegal migration because we believe that this is Hungary’s obligation as a Member State, and this is also in the best interests of the European and Hungarian people, the Government Spokesperson explained. “We continue to maintain” that illegal migration is a threat to Europe’s security, and “we also continue to maintain” our request that Brussels should reimburse one half of our expenses, Mr Hollik added.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)