Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Finance Minister: Government asks EU for reimbursement of border protection costs

Finance Minister Mihaly Varga has asked the European Union to reimburse Hungary for the money it has spent on protecting the external border.

In a letter to European commissioner for budget and administration, Johannes Hahn, Varga said the protection of the EU borders was based on a consensus dating back many decades, and the original intent was for member states to ensure protection using common funding.

He said the migration crisis had now led to a situation in which the original legislative intent had not been fully fulfilled.

In the letter posted on Facebook on Thursday, he said Hungary had prevented one million illegal border crossings on its southern border since 2015, adding that migration pressure was increasing, and this year alone Hungarian border guards had taken action against 100,000 illegal migrants.

Hungary has spent more than 1.6 billion euros on border protection since 2015, he said, adding that EU contributions had barely exceeded 1 percent of the costs.

In response to the increase in illegal migration, Hungary adapted to the changed situation, he said, successfully preventing illegal migration.

“We would consider it fair” if the European Commission recognised this effort and took an appropriate share in financing the increased Schengen border protection costs, Varga said in the letter.

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