Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Illegal migrants ‘not to set foot’ in Hungary

"As long as we are on government, no illegal immigrant will set foot in Hungary," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Facebook. Szijjarto shared a video by US channel FOX News host Tucker Carlson, recorded in Hungary, in which Carlson highlighted the Hungarian government's decision to erect a border fence along Hungary's southern borders "in the face of great international pressure" in response to the 2015 migrant crisis. That "wall", Carlson said, had "effectively ended illegal migration into the country".

Carlson visited the Hungary-Serbia border, and said he had seen Hungarian border police politely handling two Syrian migrants and escorting them back to Serbia.

Carlson also suggested that the Hungarian government’s moves aimed at “keeping the nation from being destroyed” were an example not only for Europe but for the whole world.

Police warn of ‘great migration pressure’ on southern border

Hungary’s southern border with Serbia is “under great pressure of migration”, the national police (ORFK) said on Friday, adding that the number of actions taken had tripled in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Since the beginning of the year, police have intervened on 53,297 occasions compared to 17,442 between January-August in 2020, ORFK leaders told a press conference.

Department head Zoltan Boross said that 501 people smugglers had been apprehended this year, compared to 414 last year, adding that 459 legal proceedings had been initiated this year, “more than the figure for the whole of last year”.

Gergely Czuczor, a deputy head of department at ORFK, said that the police had thwarted 26,600 illegal entries since the beginning of the year, while 23,683 illegal entrants had been apprehended close to the border on Hungarian territory and a further 200 inside the country.

Czuczor said that the number of asylum seekers in Hungary had been reduced from 92,000 to 48,000 during the past year.

PM advisor discusses Hungary-Serbia security ties in Belgrade

Gyorgy Bakondi, the prime minister’s chief domestic security advisor, held talks on the migration situation, Hungarian-Serbian security cooperation and other security issues in Belgrade on Friday.

Addressing a joint press conference with Istvan Pasztor, head of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ), Bakondi said his talks had focused mainly on the protection of the Hungarian-Serbian border, attempts by illegal migrants to breach the border, people smuggling, the situation in Afghanistan, the growing number of Afghan asylum seekers, as well as cooperation between the Hungarian and Serbian authorities.

Bakondi said he had also discussed with his partners the so-called mini-Schengen, a border-free travel and business zone set up by Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia, which he said could boost cooperation among those countries.

Migration pressure is growing on the border, Bakondi said, noting that police have apprehended a total of 54,907 illegal border crossers so far this year compared with 17,000 at this point in 2020. Police have also arrested 523 people smugglers this year compared with 206 in the same period last year, he added. More than half of all illegal border crossers this year have claimed to be from Afghanistan, whereas before, most of them had come from Syria, Bakondi said.

“But the situation in Afghanistan and overall the situation in 2021 is different than it was in 2015,” the security advisor said. By now, the European Union has also changed its approach to migrants and favours protecting the bloc’s external borders, he said. Germany’s position has also changed, “though not many are acknowledging this out loud”, Bakondi said.

“We’re doing everything in our power . to act in the interest of protecting the Hungarian people and to guarantee their safety, which starts with being able to decide whom we let into our country.” Bakondi said. “Migration is not a fundamental human right, and we believe we should only allow entry to those who are actually eligible for political asylum.”

Bakondi said the growing migration pressure and the situations in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Belarus and Turkey required the EU to rethink the migration policy it had pursued since 2015.

Istvan Pasztor said Bakondi’s visit was a testament to the “excellent relations” between Serbia and Hungary. He expressed hope that the cooperation between the two countries would also be beneficial when it comes to migration and could mitigate its negative effects.

Leave a Reply