Budapest, September 1 (MTI) – Over twenty government officials attended the joint session of parliament’s defence and national security committees to discuss Hungary’s response to the ongoing migrant crisis.
Interior ministry state secretary Karoly Kontrat told the committees that once the construction of the fence on the border with Serbia is complete, it will be secure enough to stem the flow of illegal migrants. He said the interior ministry had boosted both the number of police officers and disaster management forces on duty at the border. He said the migrants are growing increasingly aggressive, have more and more demands and are refusing to cooperate, making it more difficult for the ministry to do its job.
Kontrat noted that more than 156,000 migrants have entered Hungary illegally, most them from Serbia. He said that about 140,000 asylum requests have been submitted, about 45,000 of them by Syrian citizens.
National police chief Karoly Papp told the committees that a total of 862 suspected human smugglers had been prosecuted since January.
Janos Hajdu, the head of Hungary’s counter-terrorism centre (TEK), said it was clear that terrorists could make their way to Europe with the wave of migrants, adding that Hungary, too, is wary of the increased threat of the Islamic State terrorist group. He noted that a number of terrorist organisations had called for attacks against Europe. He said calls for violence by certain groups on social media “are not helping” law enforcement. He said that the spread of the Islamic State terror organisation also affected Hungary. Neither should the Balkan Islamic Mala Vita communities be overlooked, he added.
Part of his evidence that was sensitive was given behind closed doors, he noted.
Zsolt Molnar, the (Socialist) deputy chairman of the national security committee, blamed the government for neglecting warnings of an influx of illegal migrants early in the year, and failing to bolster border control until the middle of the year.
Tamas Harangozo, (Socialist) deputy head of the defence committee, insisted that the government had been “fooling around” in the first half of the year, and insisted that several of his party’s proposals to tackle the situation had been dismissed “for party political reasons”.
Timea Szabo, an independent MP representing the Dialogue for Hungary party, said that a state of emergency had not been declared in Hungary for the past 25 years. She said that such measure should only be taken if armed crowds of migrants turn up or commit violent crimes.
The joint session was called to brief members on recent measures to ensure control along Hungary’s southern borders.
Parliament is scheduled to discuss the matter on Thursday afternoon.