Government hopeful EC will reimburse half of Hungary border protection costs
Antal Rogán, the cabinet office chief, told public radio on Sunday he is hopeful that the European Commission will reimburse Hungary for half its spending on border protection.
The government still expects the European Commission to reimburse half the costs, Rogan told Kossuth Radio.
This would not be without precedent, he said, arguing that the European Union had contributed a significant amount of funds to Greece, Italy and Bulgaria’s border protection measures.
“Hungary acted before asking for help”, said Rogán. As quickly as it could, Hungary installed a fence on its southern border and trained and deployed some 3,000 “border-hunter” officers who are still serving on the border, he said.
Rogán noted that protecting the external borders had cost Hungary 270 billion forints (EUR 883m).
“Of course, Brussels is refusing to pay for the fence out of principle,” the cabinet office chief said, but pointed out that the EC had contributed to the construction of Bulgaria’s border fence. Hungary, however, has incurred other migration-related expenditures, and the government is ready to discuss the matter with Brussels, Rogan added.
On the subject of the European Court of Justice’s decision in the case launched by Slovakia and Hungary challenging the legality of the EU’s refugee resettlement scheme due next week, Rogán said he did not have high expectations for the ruling.
The cabinet office chief said he believed the court would make a political decision rather than a legal one, arguing that the court “is under enormous political pressure”.
He said that regardless of the court’s ruling, the government would not accept Brussels deciding who could be settled in Hungary. This is a national competency, Rogán insisted.
As we wrote before, opposition Jobbik has called on the government to file an official request with the European Union for the reimbursement of the full 270 billion forints (EUR 883m) Hungary has spent on border protection measures since 2015.