Hungary Vows to Defend Borders 'Under All Circumstances' Amid Turkey's Migrant Push
Hungarian government warns it will not allow any migrants to cross its borders illegally
Hungary has vowed to defend its borders "under all circumstances" after Turkey last week opened the gates to millions of migrants in a bid to flood the European Union with illegal immigrants.
Following talks with Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic in Belgrade on Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto warned that not a single illegal migrant will breach its borders.
The warning comes in response to Turkey living up to its long-time threat late last week, by releasing an estimated four million Middle Eastern migrants into the EU.
Greece has been hit with the brunt of the crisis as thousands have headed for the Greek-Turkish border - the gateway to the European Union - overwhelming Greek authorities.
Meanwhile, Austria is sending police units to the Hungarian-Serbian border and Hungary is diverting units to North Macedonia and Serbia.
“For us, the security of the country and the Hungarian people comes first,” Szijjarto said in a statement.
The talks between Hungary and Serbia focused on border protection as well as the situation in Turkey and Syria, Szijjarto said.
Developments at the Turkey-Greece border were worrying and suggested that hundreds of thousands of migrants could soon arrive in the Western Balkans, he explained.
Szijjarto said he had phoned his Greek counterpart and assured Greece of Hungary’s support.
“Hungary knows what it is like when the country’s borders are under an organized attack … while the international liberal media is churning out fake news.”
The current situation also highlights the importance of the European integration of the Western Balkans, Szijjarto said.
“The further south Europe’s defence lines are, the better,” he argued.
He urged the EU to speed up its accession talks with Serbia, saying that the country was ready to open up five new chapters in those
The number of attempts for illegal entry along Hungary’s southern borders “showed a massive increase” in the first two months of the year, Gyorgy Bakondi, chief security advisor to the prime minister, told MTI on Monday negotiations.
Bakondi said that 6,597 people had been apprehended at the Hungary-Serbia border since January 1.
The number compares with 1,315 in the same period of 2018 and 1,534 last year.
465 illegal migrants attempted to cross the Hungary-Romania border in the same period, up from a mere 12 in 2018 and 33 in 2019, the advisor noted.
Bakondi added that at present there were 321 migrants in Hungary’s transit zone, while legal proceedings were underway against 86 suspected human traffickers.
Hungary has sent new police contingents to help local forces patrol the borders in Serbia and North Macedonia, the national police said on Monday.
The national police headquarters has sent a 30-strong contingent to North Macedonia and a 20-member unit to Serbia.
The police officers will be tasked with patrolling the two countries’ borders and helping to arrest people smugglers and illegal migrants, the police said on its website.
Some of the Hungarian officers will be posted in the inner parts of the two countries.
Meanwhile, Austria is sending 21 police officers and two police dogs to serve on the Hungary-Serbia border in support of Hungary’s fight against migration.
Interior Ministers Sandor Pinter of Hungary and Karl Nehammer of Austria made the agreement in Nickelsdorf near the Hungarian-Austrian border on Monday.
After the meeting, Nehammer said Austria will also support Greece and the countries on the Balkan route of migration.
Austrian forces served at Hungary’s southern border during the migration crisis in 2015, protecting both Hungary and Austria, Nehammer noted.
A migration crisis like the one in 2015 “must be avoided.” he said.
He added that the Austrian authorities are much better prepared than they were then.
Reacting to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement that Turkey would no longer hold back migrants from Syria on their way to Europe, Nehammer said Turkey must honor its agreement with the European Union.
“The EU, Austria, and Hungary will not allow being blackmailed,” he said.