Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Interior minister: Cooperation key to optimal border protection

Hungary's southern border is being protected by Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, Austrian and Turkish policemen, in an effort to improve the effectiveness of the effort, the interior minister said in Hercegszanto, in southern Hungary, on Monday.

Greeting Slovak and Hungarian policemen deployed to protect Hungary’s southern border, Sandor Pinter said their sacrifice would improve public safety in Slovakia by pushing back illegal migration.

He reiterated Hungary’s stance that illegal migration should be addressed outside the European Union’s borders and the bloc’s “lines of defence” should be pushed as far out as possible.

The Hungarian government is aware that Hungary is not capable of protecting all of Europe’s external borders, but it wants to set an example to other countries so that illegal migrants on their way to the EU could be stopped as far from the borders as possible, Pinter said.

Hungary is no longer alone with this way of thinking, he said, arguing that Lithuania and Poland have also set up fences on their borders. Meanwhile, Slovakia is sending 40 police officers to help patrol Hungary’s borders and continually contributes to Hungary’s border protection efforts, he added.

Pinter said migration pressure on Hungary’ southern border was at its highest since 2015. Some 224,000 migrants have tried to cross the country’s border illegally in the recent period, often endangering the lives of the police officers protecting the border, he said.

Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulec expressed thanks to all policemen serving at the borders, saying that “protecting the external Schengen borders is the adequate recipe for preventing secondary, internal migration”.

He thanked Pinter for the cooperation aimed at boosting the protection of the Schengen borders and for his support for persuading the European Commission and EU border agency Frontex to put greater emphasis on border protection.

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