Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Varga has called on the European Union to reimburse Hungary for the money it has spent on protecting the country’s borders.
Through a letter addressed to the European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn, Varga stressed that Budapest has spent more than €1.6 billion on border protection since the beginning of the migrant crisis, while the EU’s contribution to that amount “hardly exceeds 1 per cent”, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Hungary would consider it “fair and equitable” if the bloc would acknowledge efforts made by Budapest in order to protect the EU borders against irregular migration and also “take a fair share” in financing the related costs.
Varga emphasised the “public security issues” coming from migration in major European urban centres, stressing that it had become a routine for migrants to use live firearms at the country’s borders.
Through a letter posted on his official Facebook account, Varga noted that Hungary had prevented one million irregular border crossing attempts on its southern border since 2015. He emphasized that migration pressure was increasing, and this year alone, Hungarian border guards had taken action against a total of 100,000 irregular migrants.
In September this year, the prime minister’s chief security advisor, György Bakondi, confirmed that the number of irregular entries in Hungary significantly increased, with authorities in this country apprehending a total of 27,600 people in the first quarter of this year, 36,490 in the second quarter and 43,300 in the third quarter of this year.
Local media reports noted that the majority of people attempting to reach Hungary irregularly came from Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
As part of efforts to better manage the migration situation, authorities in Hungary previously introduced a law that, among others, requires foreign nationals to first submit a pre-asylum application at Hungary’s missions in Serbia or Ukraine before seeking international protection in Hungary. This means that persons seeking asylum who are already in Hungary are required to travel abroad in order to file their request.
However, the country stressed that certain exemptions in this regard have been made, such as for Ukrainian nationals. However, the European Court of Justice (EJC) found that such a law is irregular.
Authorities in the European Union countries are continuously dealing with a large number of irregular migrants. The recent data from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex noted that in the first 11 months of this year, a total of 355,000 irregular border crossing attempts had been detected at the EU’s external borders, thus accounting for a 17 per cent increase compared to the figures of the same period last year.
The increased number of irregular migrants has led several European Union countries to reintroduce border controls.