Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Retvari: Hungary has spent HUF 650 billion to protect southern border

Hungary has spent almost 650 billion forints (EUR 1.6bn) on protecting its southern border since 2015, and the European Union has covered just 2 percent of the costs, an interior ministry official told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, 894 applicants for border patrol duties have signed their contracts and 636 have already passed the related exam, Bence Retvari, parliamentary state secretary of the interior ministry said in a briefing to parliament’s national defence and law enforcement committee. Hundreds are being trained each week, he said, adding that by winter there would be 1,000 border patrollers, relieving soldiers of the burden of border duties.

Retvari qualified the new border patrol regiment a success, saying they boosted the deterrent effect at the southern border, a sign of which is that illegal migrants are stepping up their attempts to enter the country before the entire forces are deployed.

By Nov. 1, 234,000 people had tried to enter the country illegally, up from 122,000 last year, and 6,000 the year before that. This year, 1,624 human traffickers were caught, as against 1,277 last year, and 455 the year before, he said.

Retvari said that instead of turning away when confronted, they often physically challenged border guards, and serious physical violence had taken place at the border.

He noted that the border fence is being strengthened, and a new fence is being built on the Hoduna section.

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