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Hungary Urges EU Acknowledgment and Reimbursement for €1.6 Billion Spent on Border Protection

Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Varga has made a formal plea to the European Union, urging reimbursement for the substantial financial commitment Hungary has made to secure its borders. In a letter addressed to European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn, Varga emphasized that Budapest has invested over €1.6 billion in border protection since the onset of the migrant crisis. He pointed out that the EU's contribution to this significant amount barely exceeds 1 percent.

Hungary Urges EU Acknowledgment and Reimbursement for €1.6 Billion Spent on Border Protection

Varga, in his letter shared on Facebook, called for the EU to recognize and appreciate Hungary's efforts in safeguarding its borders against irregular migration. He stressed the importance of the EU sharing the financial responsibilities more equitably in light of the challenges faced by Hungary.

Highlighting the security implications, Varga underscored the routine use of live firearms by migrants at Hungary's borders. Since 2015, Hungary has successfully thwarted one million irregular border crossing attempts, with the pressure of migration escalating. In the current year alone, Hungarian border guards have taken action against 100,000 irregular migrants.

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Reports earlier this year indicated a significant rise in irregular entries, with Hungarian authorities apprehending 27,600 people in the first quarter, 36,490 in the second quarter, and 43,300 in the third quarter. The majority of those attempting to enter irregularly hailed from Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

As part of Hungary's strategy to manage the migration situation, a law was introduced requiring foreign nationals to submit a pre-asylum application at Hungary's missions in Serbia or Ukraine before seeking international protection. However, the European Court of Justice has raised concerns about the legality of this law.

The surge in irregular migrants has prompted several European Union countries to reintroduce border controls. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex reported a 17 percent increase in irregular border crossing attempts at the EU's external borders in the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period last year, totaling 355,000 attempts.

The plea from Hungary puts forth a complex issue within the broader context of EU border management and the ongoing challenges posed by irregular migration. The coming months will likely see further discussions and negotiations between Hungary and the EU regarding the reimbursement request and shared responsibilities. By fLEXI tEAM


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