Budapest, January 9 (MTI) – Hungary on Monday sent off a ninth police contingent to help patrol the Macedonian-Greek border.
In its month-long mission, the contingent consisting of 25 officers will mainly be carrying out border patrol tasks with their Macedonian colleagues, deputy police chief Zsolt Halmosi said at a ceremony in Budapest.
Over the course of 2016, a total of 385 Hungarian police officers served in border patrol missions abroad, 201 of them in Macedonia, Halmosi said. Hungarian officers also helped patrol the borders in Serbia, Slovenia and more than ten other European Union member states as part of various Frontex delegations, he added.
Hungary has again offered to contribute 75 police officers to Frontex missions this year, Halmosi revealed, adding that the country will also send 25-member contingents to Macedonia each month.
Halmosi praised Hungary’s border protection efforts, noting that while in 2015 more than 391,000 illegal migrants had managed to enter the EU’s territory by crossing Hungary’s border, that number was reduced to 18,200 in 2016. Around 8,500 illegal migrants were apprehended and escorted back over Hungary’s border fence after border rules were tightened at the beginning of July, he added.