Hungary and the Hungarian police protecting the border were the victims of a pre-meditated, conscious attack at the border crossing station on the express road at Röszke on Wednesday, the Government Spokesperson stated on Thursday in Szeged.

Zoltán Kovács told the press that it was a brutal attack for which there is no excuse. The Government Spokesperson said it is a lie that the conflict evolved in consequence of a misunderstanding, and denied press reports which claimed that a few migrants had been allowed to enter Hungarian territory before the disturbance. He stressed that the police responded adequately to the attack of the armed migrants, and did not in any way exceed the necessary limits.

The policemen on duty at the time stood their ground in an exemplary fashion, and performed their duties in a lawful and professional manner. Hungary is determined to protect the borders of Hungary and the EU, and is open to supporting all progressive proposals, the Government Spokesperson pointed out, adding that the EU’s decision-making process is slow and hesitant.

Mr Kovács argued that the external borders of the EU should be protected primarily in Greece, and Hungary is ready to reallocate human and financial resources for the purpose. Hungary has spent more than EUR 200 million on the reinforcement of the protection of the border this year alone, while the EU has provided a mere EUR 7 million as a contribution, he said.

György Bakondi, Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister on internal security, told the press that criminal proceedings had been instituted against 22 individuals due to the disturbance in Röszke who stand accused of the illegal crossing of the border fence, and the police are investigating whether the act committed constitutes a qualified case of the criminal offence in question. In this context, the Government Spokesperson remarked that the police identified a ringleader, one of the organisers of the attack, a man from Syria. In his case, the authorities are investigating in the light of the incident whether there is scope for his prosecution on grounds of a suspected act of terrorism.

The Chief Advisor informed the press that twenty policemen had been injured in the attack, two of them seriously, while another three sustained minor injuries, but they, too, have been hospitalised. The five policemen needed hospital treatment also on Thursday. According to Mr Bakondi’s information, the number of illegal border crossers has decreased dramatically in consequence of the measures which took effect as of Tuesday.

On Monday action was taken against 9,380 migrants; this number was 367 on Tuesday and 277 on Wednesday, while on Thursday morning 95 illegal border crossers were apprehended, 69 of them in Csongrád County. Travellers will not be able to use the border crossing station on the motorway and express road at Röszke and the border crossing station at Ásotthalom for an indefinite term.

Hungary, in cooperation with the Serbian authorities, will make every effort in the next few days to reopen the border crossing stations as soon as the security situation permits.

The uncut version of the video recordings of the event may be downloaded in the press room.

(Prime Minister's Office/MTI)