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The Hungarian authorities have prevented some 215,000 people from crossing the border illegally so far this year, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at a conference on terrorism, adding that proceedings have been launched against 1,500 people smugglers this year alone. Also, the number of migrants arriving via the Western Balkan route is increasingly reminiscent of the situation seen during the 2015 migration crisis, he said. “These migrants bring a new dimension of violence and aggression, given that they’re now armed … they’re shooting at each other and threatening the Hungarian police officers and soldiers protecting the Hungarian border,” he said.
Szijjártó urged support for the Western Balkans to ensure their own security and the rest of Europe’s, adding that the European Union should make it clear to would-be migrants that they should not set off for the continent. Security, stability and the fight against terrorism have always been important to central Europe, Szijjártó said. It is important in the current security crisis to join forces with the Western Balkans in the fight against terrorism, he added.
Szijjártó also referred to Hungarian protection of persecuted Christians, noting that the Hungary Helps humanitarian programme has so far helped some half a million people remain in or return to their homelands. The government will carry on with the scheme in spite of the current economic difficulties, he said.