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Sep 04, 2017

EC rejects request for border fence contribution but government still insists on it

The cost so far has been an enormous unforeseeable expense for the Hungarian budget amounting to 270 billion HUF. The government still hopes that Brussels will make a contribution to this cost

The European Commission has rejected Hungary's request for a 50 percent contribution to the cost of their border fence.

"We are not financing the construction of fences or barriers at the external borders," said Alexander Winterstein, EU commission spokesperson.

Last week, we revealed how Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had asked Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, for the Commission to make a 50 percent contribution to the barrier protecting the external Schengen border along Hungary's southern frontier.

The prime minister addressed Juncker in a letter to request a contribution to cover the costs which have so far amounted to 800 million EUR, 270 billion HUF.

Meanwhile, the government still expects the European Commission to foot one half of Hungary’s border protection costs, Antal Rogán, the minister heading the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister has said.

Rogán commented that the European Commission has already awarded major funding to Greece, Italy and Bulgaria in connection with the migrant crisis and the protection of the border. In his view, this should therefore be justified in Hungary's case.

"Hungary did not ask for assistance first, but took action as soon as it was conceivably possible, it erected the border fence, and trained and put into service some 3,000 border guards who are serving at the border today," the minister said.

The cost so far has been an enormous unforeseeable expense for the Hungarian budget amounting to 270 billion HUF. The government still hopes that Brussels will do the right thing and make a contribution to this cost.