The efforts of Hungarian border protection authorities in stopping illegal migrants is exemplary, the interior ministry’s state secretary said in Budapest on Tuesday, at a farewell ceremony to a new police unit leaving for a mission to North Macedonia. Illegal migration is picking up at Hungary’s border with 214,000 illegal entry attempts made so far this year, Bence Rétvári said at the event. The number is up from 122,000 last year and 46,000 recorded in 2020, he said. The method has recently become more common that first unaccompanied minors get registered as migrants after entering EU territory and they are later “followed by tens of thousands” family members applying for a family reunion, Rétvári. People smugglers are becoming increasingly aggressive, the state secretary said, adding that they attempt to cross the border in large armed groups. Hungarian authorities have detained 1,531 human smugglers this year, a number much higher than in 2021 or in 2015 when the migration crisis was most serious, he said. Hungary has so far spent 600 billion forints (EUR 1.46bn) on protecting EU borders of which amount Brussels has reimbursed only 2%, Rétvári said, adding that “a just distribution of costs would be 50-50%”.