“Six new border crossing stations will be opening along the Hungarian-Austrian border”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Parliamentary State Secretary said at a press conference in Budapest on Thursday.
Levente Magyar told reporters that the Hungarian Government had come to an agreement on the border development projects with officials from Austria and the state of Burgenland within the last few days.
He reminded the press that according to a previous decision, the two countries’ motorway networks will be connected at Körmend and Sopron, in addition to which the railway line connecting Fertőszentmiklós and Neusiedl am See will also be modernised.
The State Secretary said it was part of Hungary’s historical heritage that its borders are relatively difficult to cross:
while in the western half of the continent border crossing stations are 2-4 kilometres apart on average, in Hungary the distance between crossing points is over 20 kilometres.
“This is not right”, he said, stressing that permeability is also required for maintaining business relations and keeping contact with cross-border Hungarian communities, and this was why after 2010 the Government had launched a large-scale development programme thanks to which 18 new road links have been put into commission. “The foundation stone for the new Danube Bridge at Komárom was laid down last week and dozens of new transport links are in the processing of being constructed or in planning”, he said.
“Austria is working to extend the originally temporary, but slowly permanent system of border checks that it introduced with relation to Hungary a few years ago”, Mr. Magyar declared, adding that:
“We regard this as a major threat to the Schengen system”.
The State Secretary said it was worrying that Austria has found other Western European states to be allies in this endeavour, and pointed out that as early as 2015 the Hungarian Government had already indicated: if the external borders are not protected, it will endanger the results achieved to date with relation to internal integration, one of the elements of which will be the reconstruction of the internal borders that were dismantled with such great effort.
“This is a step backwards that we are not prepared to accept”, he said, stressing that the right to and practice of free movement is one of the greatest facilitators of the European Union’s internal cohesion.
“Hungary is protecting the European Union’s external borders at an extremely high cost and with great efficiency so that it can protect the achievements of European integration”, he highlighted.
Chairman of Győr-Moson-Sopron County Council Zoltán Németh and Deputy Chairman of Vas County Council Bálint Kondora both stressed that
the new border crossing points will help reinforce the social, economic and neighbourly relations that have developed during the course of history,
indicating that Austrians generally cross the border to make use of Hungarian services, while commuting workers form the majority of people travelling in the opposite direction.
In Győr-Moson-Sopron County, new border crossing points will be linking Zsirát to Lutzmannsburg, Várbalog and Halbturm, Fertőrákos (at the Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park) to Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland, and Rajka to Deutsch Jahrndorf, while in Vas County Kőszeg and Oberpullendorf, as well as Szentpéterfa and Moschendorf will be connected thanks to the projects.
Source: kormany.hu – press release