Due to its geography, Hungary does not have the resources and technical means appropriate for maritime operations, and it is therefore understandable that it cannot participate in the Triton 2015 operation by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex).

The aim of this Mediterranean operation by Frontex is to stop immigrants arriving by sea, to arrest them and – if necessary – to rescue them.

Frontex has asked for help from its member states in the form of airplanes suitable for maritime aviation and vessels suitable for sea patrols. Hungary does not have these, but at its own initiative it is offering to provide two interview officers to screen immigrants. So far Frontex has not taken advantage of this offer. (Hungarian interview officers have participated in two earlier operations aimed at handling the immigration situation in Sicily, Italy.)

Contrary to certain statements and announcements, Frontex is conducting its Triton 2015 operation on Italy’s southern borders, not on Greece’s maritime borders. The operation does not affect the wave of migration flowing along the Western Balkan route towards Hungary. Immigrants arriving at the Schengen area in Italy – mostly the island of Lampedusa – typically travel on to Switzerland and France.

Frontex’s Poseidon operation is being conducted on Greece’s land and maritime borders. In spring 2015 Hungary participated twice in operations on Greece’s land borders. Earlier Hungary also supported the Poseidon Sea operation, but this did not deliver added value (as here also, resources and technical means useful in maritime operations were needed), and therefore this mission was suspended.

Currently Frontex is not conducting operations along the Western Balkans route leading to Hungary’s Schengen borders. As part of Hungarian-Austrian-German-Serbian cooperation, Hungary is assisting on the Serbian-Macedonian border with border patrols and vehicles equipped with thermal imaging cameras: ten Hungarian policemen are carrying out patrols with four thermal imaging camera vehicles.

On the Hungarian-Serbian border, Frontex is currently conducting the Focal Point Offices and the Frontex Flexible operations. In the latter, 30 guest officers have been delegated, and another 13 people are participating in the Focal Point operation. Due to the Greek and Italian situations, authorities of these two member states are only participating in the Hungarian operations with certain limitations: earlier on they were represented with one interview officer and interpreter each (Greek officers were present on the Hungarian-Serbian border for three months, and Italians for four months).

(Ministry of Interior/Prime Minister's Office)