“Illegal migration will remain a significant issue this year and the situation could in fact worsen in 2017”, the Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister declared.
György Bakondi stressed that the security situation that has developed as a result of migration remains a danger within the European Union and in transit countries, in addition to which the fight against the Islamic State, which is drawing to a close, could also lead to an increased threat of terrorism in Europe.
“In this situation the Hungarian standpoint is firm: the external borders of the European Union must be protected and hotspots for the evaluation of asylum requests must be established outside the EU”, the Chief Advisor added.
Summarising the past year, Mr. Bakondi said that illegal migration is continuing along the Balkan route and from Libya towards Italy. The former has seen some reduction in the number of migrants, while an increase has been observed on the latter route.
“Alternative routes have also developed: towards Bulgaria along the land border between Turkey and Greece, and via Montenegro, Romania and Ukraine. Migration has not reached mass levels along the latter two routes”, he told the press.
The Chief Security Advisor continued by listing EU measures that in his view we insufficient to stop illegal migration, including the setting up of a joint EU border and coast guard. Violent crime and acts of terrorism have become more prevalent within the EU, he indicated.
Mr. Bakondi told reporters that according to figures from the United Nations, 361 thousand people arrived in the territory of the European Union last year, 200 thousand in Italy and the rest on the Greek islands.
17,800 people managed to enter Hungary illegally prior to the major change in legislation that came into force on 5 July. Since then, 470 people have entered the country illegally; a significant number tried to enter the country via Romania and Ukraine.
The Police prevented 10,600 people from getting across the border security fence and 8,300 were accompanied back to the other side of the fence from within the 8 km border zone.
29,400 people submitted requests for asylum during the course of the year, of whom 438 were granted political asylum or protected status. 4360 requests were rejected and the assessment of the asylum request was terminated in 48,885 cases in view of the fact that the individual in question had disappeared, he continued.
The difference in the figures is caused by the fact that the latter also includes data from 2015, the Chief Security Advisor explained.
There was also a significant change in the ethnic make-up of asylum-seekers: 18 thousand Afghans, 4900 Syrians, 3800 Pakistanis, 35000 Iraqis and 1300 Iranians asked for asylum.
There are currently 829 migrants living in Hungary in guarded accommodation or awaiting their court ruling in open camps, Mr. Bakondi continued.
The reinforcement of the border security fence also began in autumn; there are currently around 100 migrants waiting in one of the transit zones, he added.
In reply to a question, Mr. Bakondi said that the 61 border hunters taken to hospital earlier in the week were most probably taken ill as a result of some kind of food poisoning, although he will only be able to say for certain once the results of laboratory tests are announced.