The threat posed by migration has not gone away, interior ministry state secretary Károly Kontrát told a session of parliament’s defence and law enforcement committee on Thursday.
The Balkan route is still active, with 70,000 migrants making their way to Europe through there, Kontrát said. In Greece, there are currently 14,000 migrants waiting to continue their journey, he said, adding that a further 4 million people are on a standby in Turkey.
Hungary, he said, was one of the safest countries, thanks in large part to the imposition of a state of emergency linked to the crisis of mass migration.
Kontrát argued that the state of emergency should therefore be extended.
Police chief János Balogh told the committee that whereas in 2018 there was a daily average of 18 attempts at illegal entry into Hungary, this has increased to an average of 27 in 2019. This means migration is on the rise, he said.
Zsuzsanna Végh, director-general of the immigration and asylum office, said the number of registered asylum seekers had only declined by about 10 percent in the EU in recent years, while in some countries it has increased.
The opposition Socialist Party’s Tamás Harangozó and Ágnes Vadai of the leftist Democratic Coalition asked how it was possible that “people were being starved” in the transit zones at Hungary’s borders.
Vadai also asked why it was necessary to prolong the state of emergency if the number of illegal migrants has declined.
Kontrát responded by saying that the reason why fewer people were attempting to cross Hungary’s border illegally was that the government’s strict immigration policies have been effective. If those rules weren’t in place, he said, “the country would be overrun with migrants”.
Végh said all asylum seekers are looked after properly for the duration of their asylum procedure. The reason behind the “confusion”, she said, was that some migrants refuse to leave the transit zone even after their asylum applications are rejected.
The committee approved a report on the extension of the state of emergency linked to mass migration.
The government resolution on the extension of the state of emergency published in Monday’s issue of the official gazette Magyar Közlöny will apply until September 7. It was first introduced on March 9, 2016 and has been extended several times.
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