Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Retvari: Border fence in south reinforced

The fence along Hungary's border with Serbia has been reinforced and extended, a state secretary of the interior ministry said at the Roszke crossing station on Tuesday.

Bence Retvari said a 10 kilometre section had been added to an earlier fence of 165 kilometres in the Hercegszanto area. He added that the new section was protecting a marshy area “which had not seen many illegal entries earlier, but people smugglers discovered that new route last summer”.

So far, the Hungarian government has spent 650 billion forints (EUR 1.8bn) on building and maintaining its border seal, the state secretary said. “While Hungary also protects the European Union’s common border, the EU in fact does not contribute to border control costs and has only refunded one percent,” he insisted.

Retvari said illegal migrants were “often equipped with knives and slings, and there were some in recent months coming with tear gas on them”. He insisted that migrants “well educated by rights groups” would “record police actions with their cameras so that they could later file a complaint against those enforcing the law”.

Despite the European Commission’s “countless” procedures, Hungary will “keep relentlessly guarding the southern border, return illegal entrants and detain and prosecute people smugglers”, he said.

Gyorgy Bakondi, chief security advisor to the prime minister, said Hungary’s authorities had apprehended over 55,000 illegal entrants since the beginning of the year, adding that the total number had exceeded 965,000 since 2015. He said there was constant pressure on the border with Serbia, while migrant activities had increased on the borders with Romania, Croatia, and Slovenia, too. He said illegal migrants were now arriving exclusively with people smugglers, 448 of whom were detained in the first half of the year.

Hungarian and Serbian police jointly patrol both sides of the common border, while Hungary provides support to controlling the Serbia-North Macedonia border, too, Bakondi said.

Last year, migrants attacked the Hungarian border 304 times, assaulting patrol officers, damaging vehicles or the fence, with 97 shooting incidents on the Serbian side, Bakondi said. Since the beginning of 2023, there have been 56 attacks and 13 shots fired, he added.

Leave a Reply