Budapest (MTI) – The last six months go to show that the state of emergency in place due to mass migration has succeeded in protecting the Hungarian people, Károly Kontrát, parliamentary state secretary of the interior ministry, said in evidence given on Wednesday to parliament’s defence and law-enforcement committee.
In a hearing on whether to prolong the state of emergency, Tamás Harangozó of the Socialists said there was no reason to maintain the state of emergency for the whole country.
Kontrát replied that the system only worked if the state of emergency covered all Hungarian territory. The committee’s chairman, Lajos Kósa, said migration pressure came not only from the southern and eastern borders but from Austria and Slovenia too, where requests for Hungary to take back migrants registered in Hungary have mounted.
Zsuzsanna Végh, head of the Immigration and Asylum Office, said that in the past year the authority had dealt with 50,000 cases of European Union member states trying to return migrants to the country on the ground they entered the EU in Hungary. Hungary has argued that these migrants first entered the EU in Greece and were in many cases registered in Bulgaria, consequently the number of such requests has fallen, she said.
Károly Papp, chief of Hungary’s police, said the state of emergency should apply to the whole country in light of human trafficking. Procedures were launched against 32 traffickers and 12 crime syndicates this year, with 114 Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Pakistani and Iraqi suspects accused of smuggling 230-280 people altogether, he said.
Citing a report of Frontex, the EU’s border agency, Papp said there were an estimated 60,000 and 10,000 migrants in Greece and Serbia respectively, with 3 million each in Africa and Turkey waiting to start their journeys. There were 104 breaches of border regulations this year, he added.
On the subject of the training of so-called border hunters, Papp said that 1,421 out of the overall target of 3,000 are already in training. Fully 984 border hunters are about to completing their training and 189 will soon start the fourth phase of training; 248 have passed preliminary tests, he added.