Photo: MTI

Budapest, January 16 (MTI) – Figures from last year show that the pressure of migration eased from 2015 but still remained high at the Hungary-Serbia border, the prime minister’s internal security advisor said on Monday.

So far this year, 1,142 people have attempted to cross the border illegally, which is comparable to last year’s figure despite the intensive protection measures introduced against illegal border crossings further south and the extreme cold weather that hit the area at the start of this year, György Bakondi told a press conference.

Due to terrorist acts, internal security has significantly deteriorated over the past two years, but the Hungarian government’s well-timed measures have proved to be effective and Hungary’s internal security is acceptable, he said.

Hungary rejects European Union efforts to relocate migrants, facilitate migration, broaden EU powers and maintain border controls within the community, he said. Instead, the external Schengen borders should be sealed, the force of law restored during border controls and migrant hotspots established outside the EU, Bakondi said.

Last year saw an increase in migrants trying to enter Hungary by hiding on trains, he said.

The number of attempted illegal entries on the Hungarian border with Ukraine and Romania have not prompted the introduction of special measures, Bakondi said.

A total of 470 people have made an illegal entry since stringent regulations were introduced in July last year, mostly from Romania and Ukraine. The border police prevented 10,600 people from crossing the metal fence along the Serbian border, and returned 8,400 others who had managed to cross the fence and were caught within 8km of the border, Bakondi said.

In 2016 a total 29,400 applications for political refugee status were received, of which 438 have been approved. In nearly 50,000 cases — including applications from 2015 — the procedure was terminated because the applicants had left the country, Bakondi said. Currently there are 858 migrants staying in Hungary, he added.

Concerning US President-elect Donald Trump’s recent comments on European migration policy, Bakondi said it would remain to be seen what concrete measures he would take, but his political remarks so far suggest that thanks to a shift in US politics, the forces that promoted the arrival of migrants in Europe would get no support.

Photo: MTI

Source: MTI

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