At a press conference last Friday, Chief Security Advisor György Bakondi said that illegal border-crossing attempts have increased at Hungary’s southern border fence, especially around sections where it was impossible to erect physical barriers – due to terrain conditions, rivers and passageways for wild animals.
In order to counter the rising migration threat, Bakondi said that the increased police and military force protecting the Hungarian border – which is also an external border of Europe’s Schengen Area – is being further assisted by high-end heat cameras, drones and radar technology.
“While in 2018 there were 3,477 illegal border-crossing attempts in Bács-Kiskun County, and in 2019 authorities made 11,535 arrests, this January’s figure has already reached 1,353,” the Chief Security Advisor said.
Meanwhile, illegal migrants’ main route and ethnic composition has also changed. According to Bakondi, migration pressure has shifted away from the Serbia-Bosnia-Croatia-Slovenia route, turning the incoming masses instead towards Hungary’s southern border with Serbia. That border carries a special importance because it also doubles as an external border of Europe’s Schengen Area, and Hungary has a treaty obligation, under the Schengen Agreement, to protect it. Over the past years, illegal immigrants were arriving mostly from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. But today, illegals reaching the Hungarian border increasingly refer to themselves as Syrians, while the number of North Africans is also growing.
The activity on the Western Balkans migration route, Bakondi reminded those gathered, is largely dependent on the number of Syrians and Afghans in Turkey. The Chief Security Advisor concluded with an alarming fact: “Last year, Turkish authorities apprehended 500 thousand illegal border-crossers, and it’s certain that some have made it through.”
Photo credit: Promenad.hu