The European Union should both recognize and financially compensate Hungary for defending the Union’s external borders, Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi said at a joint press conference with French MEP Nadine Morano on Thursday.
“It is time for Brussels to recognize Hungary’s efforts in defending the EU’s common border and materially contribute to the costs,” Hidvéghi said at the Röszke border crossing, where several hundred illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa attempted to enter the country at the beginning of February.
That event happened in the early hours of Feb. 7, when some 500 to 700 migrants amassed at the border in hope of being allowed into Hungary, before 200 Serbian police eventually arrived at the scene and ferried the illegal migrants to the interior of the country. Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said at the site that Serbia did not want the issue of migrants to negatively impact relations with Hungary.
Hidvéghi said that in the first two months of the year alone, Hungarian border police and the military prevented 4,300 migrants from entering the country, but with the arrival of milder spring weather pressure on the border will only increase.
“The Hungarian-Serbian border is also the outer border of the European Union and the Schengen area,” Hidvéghi said. “When Hungary is defending this border, it is also protecting the European Union, the Schengen area and the interests of every citizen of the EU.”
French MEP Nadine Morano of the Republican Party said that the defense of the borders is of common interest and Hungary is assuming a major responsibility in doing so.
“Nobody wants to see a fence when looking out the window, but nobody should be forced to allow illegal arrivals into their own homes either,” Morano said, while also commending the efforts Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his country for what they are doing in the defense of Europe’s borders.
“European people have had enough of this kind of illegal immigration being forced upon them,” Morano said. Hidvéghi added that during the current negotiations of the EU’s budget for the next years, Hungary will insist on higher border defense spending and that the EU recognizes the country’s efforts in the matter.
Title image: Hungarian border patrol unit.