Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Government official: Hungary has demonstrated how to protect the border

Hungary has demonstrated how to protect the border, Bence Retvari, parliamentary state secretary of the interior ministry, said on Thursday.

The European Union’s external land borders span 440km, while its internal borders add up to 7,500km, and it is obvious that it is the shorter section that needs to be protected against illegal migration, Retvari told public radio.

Retvari spoke in connection with a meeting of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council he attended this week, where he played a video of the attacks Hungarian police officers have to endure from armed illegal migrants on the southern border.

Hungary’s border protection works but will only be effective in protecting the whole of Europe if it cannot be bypassed, the state secretary said. “This is what should be done on the Bulgarian and Greek borders, too,” he added.

Retvari said there had been attempts to talk the Hungarian delegation out of playing the video, but once the video was played, it was met with “stunned silence”. Many at the meeting, he said, had snapped photos of the scenes in the video or asked for a copy.

“The reason why they were stunned by the video was because in their mind the job of border guards isn’t to protect the border but to help illegal migrants submit their asylum applications,” Retvari said.

He said western European media did not report on what is happening on Hungary’s southern border, “and whatever isn’t covered in the papers doesn’t exist to decision-makers, either”.

The state secretary said Brussels was working on adding exceptions to the EU’s planned migration directive that provide a basis for taking in migrants. He added that Hungary was hopeful the central European member states could reach an agreement on the need to protect the bloc’s external border in the region.

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