Hungarian Minister of Interior Pinter Advocates Strengthening Border Security at V4 Meeting

Border crossing points

Sandor Pinter, the Hungarian Minister of Interior has brought the issue of increasing border security at external Schengen Area borders to the attention of representatives of other Visegrad Group member countries and his Austrian counterparts in a meeting in Prague last week. 

During the meeting, Minister Pinter noted that border security is crucial when it comes to the issue of stopping migration to Europe.

“When it comes to migration, the most important thing is clearly to protect the external Schengen borders… At the same time, help must be taken to where the problems arise,” said Minister Pinter.

For the time being, Hungary is capable of protecting its own Schengen border, but is happy to accept help from its Visegrad partners, Minister Pinter said. The Visegrad Group is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states: the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. It is also known as V4. 

Pinter also said that the talks also touched on the purchase of police equipment among V4 countries, and that the procurement of this equipment could significantly aid the activities of the EU border agency FRONTEX. 

The representatives present at the meeting were in agreement that Britain and the EU must be cooperative in security and information-sharing after Brexit. Pinter said that the Hungary had at the meeting proposed that V4 countries coordinate their response to a potential no-deal Brexit.  

Since 2015, Hungary has had a hard stance on migrants and illegal immigration. That year, about 400,000 asylum seekers crossed the Serbia-Hungary border and set upon the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest. The Hungarian Prime Minister took measures to stop another wave of migrants, including barbed-wire fences. He and the Fidesz Party at the time called it a “Muslim invasion.”

Hungary allowed refugees to file asylum requests only inside transit zones. The asylum seekers were denied food, some to the point of starvation, according to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. 

However, the ministers said that the drafting of a new pact on migration and asylum would be a good opportunity to assess and reevaluate the issue of migration. The new pact was proposed by European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen. 

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