Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Hungary, Serbia expand cooperation against illegal migration

Hungary and Serbia have expanded their cooperation against illegal migration by setting up joint patrols on the Serbia-North Macedonia and the Hungary-Serbia borders, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference he held jointly with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vulin at Roszke at the border, Pinter said Hungary and Serbia shared the same views on the need to stem illegal migration.

Hungary and Serbia aim to persuade other European Union members to take part in these joint operations the way the Czech Republic and Austria have, Pinter said.

The EU’s landlocked countries have recognised that Hungary “is on the right track by protecting its borders with fences”, Pinter said. Today Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and other countries with land borders are also building similar fences, he added.

Meanwhile, Pinter said that in preparation for further waves of the coronavirus pandemic, he and Vulin had reviewed and expanded the rules on entry into each other’s country that had been in effect during the previous waves.

Vulin said the launch of the joint patrols showed that relations between Serbia and Hungary were “at their highest ever level”. The effects of illegal migration must be managed, as it presents social, health and security risks, he said.

Strengthening the Hungarian border section is important for Serbia as well, Vulin said, arguing that if migrants know that a section of the border is well protected, they will not try to cross it.

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