Budapest, June 18 (MTI) – The government is “not happy” about building a fence between Hungary and Serbia, but guaranteeing the country’s security means it must do so urgently, the government office chief told a regular press conference on Thursday.
It was not for “fun or amusement” that the government approved the decision to close off the border, Janos Lazar said, arguing that an “influx of 150,000 illegal migrants” posed a security risk for the country.
The Hungarian government is open to “constructive talks” with its Serbian counterpart at an upcoming joint cabinet session on July 1, he said.
Lazar also noted that crossing stations along the border would continue to offer legal entry.
Asked whether the government was considering a fence for any of its other borders, he said the government would not exclude any option until the European Commission comes up with a viable solution to the migration problem.
Asked about the possibility of migrants bypassing the Serbian border by crossing via Romania or Croatia, he said these countries were EU member states and “safe countries”, and illegal migrants could be deported back to those countries.
He dismissed opposition claims the 4-metre-high fence along 175km would cost up to 60 billion forints (EUR 192m), saying it would cost no more than 25 billion.
Lazar underlined that Hungary had not received any kind of assistance from the European Union for handling the influx of migrants, in spite of the fact that Hungarians have the greatest financial burden to bear in Europe proportionate to gross domestic product.
The minister said Hungary would continue to observe all international conventions on migration. He added that in the time of the war in the Balkans, Hungary admitted many refugees and granted them asylum.