Budapest, August 13 (MTI) – The government will finalise its decision to launch a campaign in transit countries to disrupt human smuggling attempts going through Hungary at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, government office chief Janos Lazar told a regular government press briefing.
Lazar said the government aims to make it clear to potential human smugglers that Hungary’s migration laws have changed and a border fence is being set up. He thanked individuals, including former President Laszlo Solyom and civil groups, for aiding asylum-seekers arriving in Hungary.
Hungary, he said, is getting a “risible” amount of financial support from the European Commission for handling the migrant situation.
Lazar commented on the announcement that Hungary would be getting 64.1 million euros out of a total of 2.4 billion euros set aside for the bloc’s migration fund in the 2014-2020 budget period.
The minister said it was “unworthy and unjust” that Hungary, a small country most in danger, should receive “such a small amount”.
He attributed the fact that larger amounts had been awarded to Italy and Greece to their long-standing membership of the EU and their lobbying “in a bad sense of the word”. He said Hungary would broach this issue in Brussels.
Lazar said Hungary always abides by the rules, registering migrants in line with the Dublin agreement. Italy and Greece, however, regularly neglect to do so, he said.
He cited a UN study which states that the greatest wave of migration is under way in Europe since WW2, with around 230 million people leaving their home country. The Hungarian government has noticed the significant increase in migration since March 2015. As against 70-80,000 migrants originally expected to arrive in Hungary, as many as 120,000 arrived so far this year and their number is projected to reach 250,000-300,000 by the end of the year. According to some reports, around 120,000-150,000 more migrants currently in Serbia are planning to enter the EU in Hungary, he added.
Hungary is keeping the official border crossings open, and the fence being built does not mean that the border will be closed, Lazar said. Signs will be placed on the fence showing directions to the border crossings, he added.
He said Hungary’s migrant reception centres accommodating some 4,000-4,500 people are currently full. The government has made available some 31.4 billion forints (EUR 100m) to handle the situation, and the first phase of the temporary border fence will be built by Aug. 31. A cabinet meeting next Tuesday will decide whether the second phase needs to be built to make the fence 3-4 metres high. Some 900 soldiers are involved in building the fence at 19 locations, he added.