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Hungary, Austria to boost criminal investigation cooperation

Hungary and Austria have agreed to set up a joint criminal investigation unit, organise joint patrols and expand information sharing on criminal cases, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said after talks with his Austrian counterpart in Budapest.

Hungary and Austria are both working to guarantee the security of their countries and safety of their citizens, Pinter told a joint press conference with Gerhard Karner.

Pinter thanked Karner for Austria’s assistance in the protection of the European Union’s external borders.

He said they were also in agreement that ensuring Europe’s security required more than just border protection. The two countries have therefore also agreed to participate in police operations in the Balkan region that will ensure Hungary and Austria’s security.

Pinter said he and Karner had also discussed bilateral cooperation in the response to the pandemic, adding that they had promised to continue taking into consideration new information about the pandemic when coordinating their border activities.

Karner said his visit to Hungary was his first international trip since taking office last month, adding that this was a sign of strong bilateral cooperation.

He said they had agreed to intensify their efforts against organised crime, specifically human smuggling and trafficking.

The minister added that Austria and Hungary expected the European Commission to strengthen the protection of the bloc’s borders.

Meanwhile, in response to a question concerning Monday’s shooting incident on the Hungary-Austria border, Pinter said the authorities had identified and would catch the suspect who allegedly fired shots at Austrian border authorities.

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