Hungarian government declares migration crisis
Budapest, March 9 (MTI) – The government has declared a nationwide migration crisis, the interior minister announced on Wednesday.
Sándor Pintér noted that Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia had introduced special measures at the borders from midnight. He said these countries were only accepting migrants according to Schengen rules for the external border, namely that only people with valid passports and visas can enter.
He said it was not known what kind of reaction could be expected from refugees or illegal migrants who are already in these countries, Pintér said, explaining Hungary’s decision to send border reinforcements and the government’s declaration of a crisis.
Pintér said that in Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia around 10,000 people were without a permit, and “it is not yet known in which direction they will set off”.
Pintér said that “significantly increased (migrant) movements” have been reported at Hungary’s fenced-off southern borders and the authorities are monitoring developments. Transit areas and asylum-seeker checkpoints are full and “turbulent” situations are anticipated, he added.
Answering a question about actual measures, the minister said that the government would multiply the number of police and soldiers in the area and make preparations to increase “reaction capacities”. As for the military, some 1,500 troops will participate in the operations, he said.
Pintér said preparations have been made to possibly build new roads so that vehicles could get to certain border sections faster, and plans are ready to floodlight the entire length of the border if necessary. All those measures are aimed at catching illegal entrants at any point along the border, he said, adding that “appropriate” circumstances would be ensured for detainees. If necessary, a camp will be built for the purpose, he said.
The minister said that necessary funds were in place for the operations, adding that the government had made a “tentative” decision to earmark 7.3 billion forints for road works.
Asked whether Hungary is planning to set up a fence along its border with Romania, too, Pintér said that illegal entrants from that country have not been reported, but the authorities are”prepared for that possibility” and have deposited necessary materials to build a fence if needed. He cited his Romanian counterpart as saying that Romania would ensure that no illegal migrants would cross from its territory into Hungary.