Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has told new recruits to Hungary’s border force the country is “now under siege” at a swearing-in ceremony, and warns they cannot afford to become complacent.
Hungary responded to the migrant crisis by erecting strong border fences on its frontiers with Serbia, which is entirely outside the borderless European Union (EU), and Croatia, which is inside the bloc but not yet included in its passport-free Schengen zone.
The government is now upgrading these defences, which have slashed illegal migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands and saved the country billions of forints. It is also recruiting an extra 3,000 border guards. But the prime minister warned 462 new recruits that “we cannot afford to sit back” during an oath-taking ceremony on Tuesday.
“We have gained time between two major attacks,” he declared. “The storm has not yet passed, but has only subsided temporarily.”
Orbán believes the country must take advantage of the current lull to reinforce its physical defences and bolster its border guard force, sending a clear message to illegal migrants.
“If the world sees that we can protect our borders, if they see that the reinforced Hungarian border fence is impenetrable, and that we continue to insist on upholding our laws — and we do not waver for a second — then nobody will attempt to come to Hungary illegally,” he said.
While spokesman Zoltán Kovács has previously asserted the fences are ultimately “protecting the European Union, not Hungary”, the prime minister warned that the Central European state should not expect outside support.
“We can only rely on ourselves,” he said, telling listeners that Brussels bureaucrats would “only make our job more difficult”.
Orbán contends the migrant crisis “will remain on the agenda until people everywhere realise that migration is the Trojan horse of terrorism”. He told the recruits they were “the defenders of both freedom for Hungary’s present and hope for Hungary’s future”.
“We Hungarians want a Europe in which we can live our own Hungarian lives. In the Hungary that we want, security is the foremost concern.”