The significant increase in illegal border crossings represents a real threat, the Prime Minister’s Chief Security Advisor György Bakondi in a recent interview with public Kossuth radio.
György Bakondi highlighted the severity of the migration situation as shown by the latest data provided by the European Union’s border and coast guard agency. According to Frontex, the number of illegal border crossings reached a record level in recent months, increasing by 292 percent on the central Mediterranean migration route between January and April compared to the same period last year. The Chief Security Advisor stated that several negative developments have occurred in Africa, including the Sudanese civil war, which has led to new masses seeking to reach Europe in the hope of a better life.
Hungary has a strong border protection system with a double technical barrier, state-of-the-art equipment, significant police and border patrol forces, and, last but not least, a legal border closure that allows for redirecting apprehended migrants, Bakondi emphasised. He added: ‘Considering the fees requested by human smugglers, it is very expensive for migrants to come here,’ so they try to avoid detection by hiding in vehicles and heading towards Romania and Croatia that has recently been admitted to the Schengen area.
Bakondi highlighted one of the arguments put forth by supporters of migration, which is that the European economy needs labour. ‘Illegal immigration is not the solution to this. Our standpoint is that if, for example, Germany wants to bring in workers, they should do it legally: the migrant should go to the embassy, present their documents and certificates, and then receive an airline ticket,’ he said. He explained that the problem with illegal migration is that in many cases, the identity, qualifications, and language skills of the arrivals are unknown, and it is also unclear which labour market segment they could be employed in. Not to mention that it is the smugglers and organised crime groups who decide how many prospective workers arrive in which country, he added.
Bakondi stated that the destination country for illegal migrants is determined by the social welfare system, the kind of benefits provided to immigrants, and employment opportunities. It is characteristic for example that masses of migrant want to move to England from France.
The Chief Security Advisor indicated that illegal immigration has triggered security concerns that
have now reached the sensitivity threshold of European politicians.
In recent weeks and months, political statements from the President of the European Commission, the leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, or the German Chancellor and several ministers have strongly emphasised the importance of guarding external borders, and it has been suggested that financing for fence construction should also be provided.
This is a significant change compared to the 2015 standpoint, but these are still only political statements, and there has been no real legal action, decision, or resolution, he underscored. He recalled that the negotiating position adopted by the European Parliament includes mandatory quotas for the distribution of migrants and the involvement of civil organisations in monitoring the law enforcement agencies responsible for border protection.
While statements like the above definitely signal a positive change, Bakondi said, Hungary has still not received any EU funds for financing border protection, and due to its migration policy, it is still facing an ongoing lawsuit at the European Court of Justice.