With regard to the intensified migration pressure on Hungary’s Schengen border section, on 20 January 2020 Deputy Prime Minister-Interior Minister Dr Sándor Pintér convened an extraordinary meeting for police chiefs in Bácsalmás. The event was attended by the Ministry of Interior’s Director General for Public Security, the National Commissioner of the Police, the Budapest and County police chiefs, and senior police officers of equivalent status.

The Bács-Kiskun County and Csongrád County police chiefs as well as the head of the National Bureau of Investigations rendered reports to the Minister with respect to the status of border protection and action against people smuggling. The reports covered measures implemented with a view to preserving the country’s border protection capabilities which were made necessary by newly-emerging and spreading methods. The Minister was familiarised in detail, among others, with the technique illegal migrants employ in railway freight wagons where they cut holes into wagons in order to hide inside them as well as with the methods that are used to detect them. They analysed the statistical data of illegal migration which is on the increase in every respect, highlighting, among others, that significant changes can be observed in the development of the nationalities of illegal migrants. They reported that the people smugglers of 16 countries – the oldest apprehended people smuggler was aged 72 – had attempted to smuggle the nationals of 47 countries illegally into the territory of the European Union. After the reports, the Minister visited the Bácsalmás Border Policing Remote Surveillance Control Centre and the Southern border section where he was informed about the service circumstances of the staff serving on the ground. Following this, the Minister held a meeting in order to designate tasks for the future.

In his contribution, the national police commissioner stated that the Hungarian Police were able to fulfil Hungary’s undertakings relating to the protection of the Schengen borders. Brigadier General Dr János Balogh also pointed out that guaranteeing the conditions of legal border crossing continued to remain an important task of the police.

With reference to international intelligence experience and FRONTEX analyses, Brigadier General Károly Papp highlighted that the Hungarian police will have to prepare for the management of the pressure of migration on a long-term basis. The Ministry of Interior’s Director General for Public Security drew the attention of the attendees to the fact that only a series of complex measures can lead to results in the areas of border protection and action against people smuggling.

According to the Interior Minister’s summary, the police have passed the test of protecting our borders with flying colours, and society, too, recognises the sacrifices they make. The results achieved by the police so far confirm his earlier observation that the cooperation of the police, the defence forces and community watch units is excellent. At the same time, Dr Pintér urged the parties concerned to involve in this cooperation as many persons and organisations present at the border sections in question as possible.

The Minister expects local experts to also take part personally in the assessment-analysis work carried out in the capital because, he said, knowledge of the circumstances on the ground is essential in these efforts. At the same time, he believes it is necessary to direct deployment units serving in other parts of the country to the border on a temporary basis because this enables police officers to acquaint themselves on a preliminary basis with the necessary information regarding the circumstances of missions in the future. The Minister told the attendees of the meeting that he expected further results from the deployment of drones. At the same time, he instructed the attending officers to explore border protection technologies already introduced elsewhere and to look into their deployability.