Hungarian authorities have stopped close to 1 million migrants at the country’s southern border since a 165km fence was erected there eight years ago, government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi said in Röszke on Tuesday. Speaking at a press conference at the border crossing where border patrol officers had been attacked before, she said Hungary had been the most “militant” in protecting Europe’s external borders against illegal migration, which the country had committed to under a treaty on the Schengen borders.
She noted that while Hungary had already spent 600 billion forints (EUR 1.6bn) on border protection, only 1.5% of those costs had been reimbursed by Brussels. “Hungary has been combating illegal migration for close to a decade. The country should be acknowledged and respected for those efforts instead of being subjected to continued attacks,” she said.
Szentkirályi said Brussels still sought to force its mandatory migration distribution quotas onto Hungary with a plan to oblige a member state to pay 8 million forints for each migrant it refuses to taken in. “Hungary will however not yield to any pressure to accept the quotas and migrant ghettos, but fight with all possible means against those.”
György Bakondi, the prime minister’s chief security advisor told the same press conference that people smugglers had become increasingly organised with attempts made simultaneously at 19 spots in groups of 100 or 200 illegal migrants. He said the illegal entrants and the smugglers were more violent, continuously mounting attacks on the border fence, patrol vehicles, surveillance equipment and police officers, of whom seven had been injured this year. He said that the number of illegal entrants kept increasing, with Hungarian authorities apprehending 27,600 people in the first, 36,490 in the second and 43,300 in the third quarter of the year. Most of them were Syrian nationals, followed by Afghan, Turkish and Pakistani citizens, Bakondi added.