“Migration pressure is steadily increasing, and for this reason we are increasing the Hungarian Defence Force presence on the southern border”, Deputy Defence Minister and the Ministry’s Parliamentary State Secretary Szilárd Németh announced at a press conference on Sunday in Madaras.

The Hungarian Defence Force (HDF) has been continuously participating in the performance of border security duties since 2015. The soldiers are supporting the police in the handling of the migration crisis, and over the past four years over twenty thousand military personnel have performed tasks along Hungary’s southern border.

At his press conference at the military base in Madaras, Deputy Defence Minister Szilárd Németh pointed out: “Pressure on the Hungarian border is steadily increasing, as also corroborated by the figures. While action was taken against 390 illegal border crossers during the first eleven months of 2018, last year this figure increased to 3299”. “Events in the Middle East point to the fact that not only can we expect a quantitative increase with relation to illegal migration, but also a qualitative change”, the State Secretary told reporters. “Terrorist organisations that have threatened the western world have already declared that they want to use the migration routes to get their fighters into Europe to commit acts of terrorism”, Mr. Németh emphasised. According to the Deputy Minister, in view of the increasing security risks the Hungarian Defence Force will be doubling the number of its personnel deployed at the border in the interests of assuring the security of the Hungarian people.

Deputy Commander in Chief of the Hungarian Defence Force Lt-Gen Dr. Gábor Bőröndi told the press that the HDF has begun the reallocation of the necessary personnel and equipment. As he explained, the soldiers previously deployed to patrol the border in shifts of fifty will be increased to one hundred from 6 January, meaning that together with support staff the total number of HDF personnel on duty at the border in support of the police will be increased to 500. “Recent events have proven that an increase in numbers is necessary, since two hundred and sixteen people attempted to cross the border illegally in January alone”, the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Hungarian Defence Force pointed out.

In addition to patrolling the border on foot and in vehicles, the Hungarian Defence Force is primarily assisting the work of police with reconnaissance forces, assault boat and military police dog services, and via helicopter reconnaissance. The soldiers are performing their duties in 12-hour shifts.