Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban once again called on the European Commission’s president to reimburse the costs of Hungary’s border protection measures. In a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Viktor Orban stated that a new migration crisis was unfolding at the doorstep of the European Union, the V4 news agency reported.

  • As you are well aware, the hybrid uses of migration stemming from Belarus, as well as the disastrous evacuation of the security forces from Afghanistan may potentially bring forth an even more severe crisis than what we have witnessed in 2015. I believe that the only reason behind the fragile stability that we currently have in the EU is the fact that Hungary, together with other Member States, successfully protects the external borders of our Union, Orban says in his letter.

Orban noted that to date, Hungary alone has spent over 590 billion forints (over 1.643 billion euros) from its national budget on border protection and that the country was among the first to construct a physical border fence, which has demonstrated over the past years that it can safeguard the safety of EU citizens and the European Union as a whole.

Over time, Hungary’s border protection measures have become exemplary, Orban wrote, adding that by 2021, in addition to Hungary, physical border barriers were or are being built in Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. The recent migration situation has also shown that physical barriers are not only one of the most effective types of border protection tools, but in some situations they are also essential in combating hybrid attacks. The above justifies the arguments and funding demands that Hungary has long been stating, the premier stated.

He goes  on to reiterate part of a joint letter dated 7 October and signed by the interior ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and the Slovak Republic: “[Establishing] physical barriers appears to be an effective border protection measure that serves the interest of whole EU, not just Member States of first arrival. This legitimate measure should be additionally and adequately funded from the EU budget as a matter of priority”. Viktor Orban reminded the Commission president he had also underlined this in his statement at the last European Council meeting.

It is time for the Commission to do what it should have done years ago and recognise that the protection of the external borders is an indisputable manifestation of European solidarity and that the efforts of Member States in this context deserve recognition and support, the Hungarian premier emphasized in his letter.

“The significant material, human and financial resources that Hungary has invested in the protection of the internal security of the European Union over the past six years cannot be ignored. Therefore, I once again call on the Commission to reimburse the costs of the Hungarian border protection measures the financing of which was refused based on the Commission´s incorrect interpretation and application of the relevant rules,” Viktor Orban wrote to the president of the European Commission.

  • Considering the current situation, especially the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and the continuous hybrid threats at the borders of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland with Belarus, we see no indication for the migration pressure to decrease in the near future. Actually, the exact opposite is imminent and we must expect yet another significant migration crisis. Europe must protect its external borders and time has proven that the only effective solution is physical barriers to secure European citizens against the mass arrival of illegal migrants, he added.

When we recall the need to preserve the unity of the European Union in a crisis situation, we also acknowledge the common responsibility that connects Member States, Mr Orban stressed. “In our recent conclusions, we called upon the European Commission to propose the necessary changes in the EU’s legal framework that would also ease the burden of those at our external borders, including Hungary. These changes should be carried out in addition to financing the past and currently arising costs of physical border barriers. Hungary has decided to take full responsibility for stemming illegal migration along the southern external border section of the European Union. Now, it is the responsibility of the EU to fairly contribute to our efforts and expenditures,” Hungary’s prime minister wrote in conclusion of his letter.