Hungary: ‘Fighting Illegal Migration Not Possible Without Physical Barriers at Border’

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The Hungarian prime minister’s spokesman has said that “fighting illegal migration is basically not possible without physical infrastructure,” and that failing to do so is a “sign of weakness”.

Zoltán Kovács, Secretary of State for International Communication in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s conservative-national populist government, told Townhall that in 2015, when Germany’s Angela Merkel invited migrants into Europe unilaterally, his country was overwhelmed.

“We were not able to stop them because there was no fence and we were not much prepared as neither was Europe prepared… fighting illegal migration is basically not possible without physical infrastructure and that is physical barriers at the borders today,” he explained.

Unlike many other European leaders, particularly in the continent’s west, Prime Minister Orbán chose to meet the challenge of the migrant crisis through robust border security, rapidly rolling out and reinforcing a series of southern border fences manned by an expanded border guard — “reduc[ing] the number of illegal migrants to zero, basically zero,” according to Dr Kovács.

Number of illegal border crossings on the external Schengen borders of Hungary:

2014: 44 709
2015: 391 384
2016: 18 236
2017: 1 418
2018 (until 20 December): 441

Source: International Communications Office, Hungarian Government

Dr Kovács told Townhall his government was reluctant to wade into “the domestic political debates of other countries” when pressed on the question of a southern border wall between the United States and Mexico, but left little doubt as to Budapest’s position in offering to “share our experience”.

“The Hungarian measures on the ground have demonstrated that defending the borders is not a matter of capability but a matter of willingness,” he asserted bluntly, indicating that attacks on physical border barriers imply there is “no willingness actually on behalf of those who are criticizing to defend the border.”

“They would like to continue what is happening or what was happening at the borders of Europe and that is ‘manage,’ as they call it, that’s the code word, managing what is happening at the borders but that equals basically making illegal migration legal,” he added with respect to the situation in the European Union.

“That is legalizing the effort that would basically accept that Europe is defenceless and we don’t believe that’s the way. Again we and recently Italy have demonstrated that defending the border is a matter of decision so it’s not a matter of capabilities,” he concluded.

Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó took a similar stance in an exclusive interview with Breitbart’s Amanda House in early February, stating that “border protection as an obligation of the state, because it is an obligation of the state to ensure the security of the country and the security of the people.”

The Hungarian told Breitbart that his government could “understand [President Donald Trump’s] endeavour to protect the people and the country of the United States from illegal migration, and if you put it as a professional type of a question, I can tell you that we have understood it very clearly from our own example… that without a physical infrastructure, basically it is impossible, it is impossible to make sure that no illegal migrants come in.”

“[S]ince we consider the United States as an ally and as a friend, the only thing we can do is cross our fingers that he succeeds with protecting the citizens of the United States… We can just hope to the benefit of the American people that he’s going to be successful there,” he added.

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