Budapest, June 20 (MTI) – The interior minister warned parliament’s national security committee already in May 2013 of the immense pressure Hungary could face and mooted the idea of strengthening the country’s borders by erecting a fence, the committee’s deputy chairman said on Saturday.
Szilard Nemeth, of ruling Fidesz, commented in daily Napi Gazdasag on the government’s Wednesday announcement on preparations for building a four-metre high fence along a 175km section of Hungary’s border with Serbia.
It will be a structure meeting NATO standards with barbed wire on the top to prevent attempt by anyone of climbing over, he said, adding that presence and patrols by border control authorities will be strong.
Crossing stations along the border would continue to offer legal entry, he said.
All these measures have been prompted by an enormous influx of 50,430 illegal entrants at the Hungarian-Serbian border just in the first five months of the year, compared with 47,008 arriving in Italy during the same period, he said.
As many as 500 illegal immigrants cross to Hungary per day, their number is expected to go up to 60,000 by the end of June and to 150,000 by the end of December, Nemeth said.
He said that the decision about the fence was taken after consultations with the police, border control authorities and secret services.
The fence is planned to be built by units of the national police and the Hungarian armed forces with state funding, Napi Gazdasag said in its Saturday issue.
The government office chief said on Thursday that the fence would cost about 25 billion forints (EUR 79,3m).
Jozsef Tobias, leader of the opposition Socialists, said on Saturday that the appropriate response to migration could only be a long-term EU-level solution. The government’s ongoing national consultation drive and billboard campaign as well as the fence project are good only for a “hate campaign,” he said and proposed setting up a European fund for strengthening the EU’s Schengen borders.
The opposition Egyutt party said on Saturday that solidarity is the only solution to the migration issue and called for a “humane” one worked out in cooperation with other European partners. A party official said Egyutt will closely monitor the distribution of state funds in connection with the fence building project.