Government: Parliament set to amend several laws in extraordinary meeting
Budapest (MTI) – Parliament is set to amend a number of laws in next week’s extraordinary session convened to debate fortifying border protections, government office chief Janos Lazar told a regular government news conference on Thursday.
Lazar said he had asked the speaker, Laszlo Kover, to convene an extraordinary meeting of the defence and national security committees, where the ministries and secret service officials will brief representatives on their work in connection with the wave of migrants entering Hungary.
He said lawmakers would vote on amending the penal code to apply stricter penalties for human smuggling and expand the regulations on expulsion. Parliament will also amend the law pertaining to launching proceedings against illegal border crossers in order to speed up the process, adding that the laws on asylum and civil procedure may also be amended. Lawmakers may also pass laws on regulations applying to transit zones, he added. The bill on the amendment proposals will be submitted to parliament by the justice minister on Friday, Lazar said.
The minister said that the government, based on events of the past 48 hours, considers that the army will be needed for defence of the border. Codification work to ensure the necessary legal conditions required for this measure is taking place, he said, adding, that amendments to the constitution would be unnecessary. He said police presence at the border would have to be increased significantly as soon as possible.
Lazar said the government would hire an international agency to spread the word in transit countries and the migrants’ countries of origin that Hungary has closed off its southern border. He said the campaign was likely to cost “millions of euros”.
He said the government is considering installing other security equipment between the two elements of the double barrier. The minister said that unless the government takes the appropriate steps, the number of migrants heading to western Europe through Hungary may reach or even surpass 300,000 by the end of the year. He said reports from Serbian authorities had indicated that Hungary could receive 6,000-8,000 migrants over the next few days.
Lazar said he had instructed Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto to inform Germany and the European Commission on the past 48 hours’ developments at the Hungary-Serbia border. He said roughly 10 percent of migrants waited until the end of the asylum process, while 90 percent headed toward other countries. He said migrants in the latter category were becoming more and more aggressive, refusing to cooperate with the authorities. He said the events of the past few days had made it clear that the EU is too week to protect its borders.
The European Union is failing to help Hungary fulfil its duty to protect the Schengen border, Lazar said, adding that it is “shameful” that the EU is omitting to give related funding to Hungary while at the same time supporting other countries affected by the wave of migrants.
Legislation on construction will have to be amended to accommodate building new refugee camps, Gergely Gulyas, the head of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, told public television M1 on Thursday evening. He said one idea put forward is to set up camps which would be open “only towards Serbia”, meaning migrants could leave but only in the direction of Serbia. This idea “has not been ruled out,” he said.