Hungary calls upon Brussels to reimburse costs of border protection
02. 11. 2021.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán repeatedly called upon the President of the European Commission to reimburse the costs of Hungary’s border protection measures as Hungary’s border protection measures have become exemplary for a number of European countries, and more importantly, our continent is being threatened by an even more severe crisis than that we witnessed in 2015, Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief informed the Hungarian news agency MTI. The letter was also published on Mr Orbán’s English-language website.

In his letter written to President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Orbán pointed out that a new migration crisis is unfolding at the doorstep of the European Union. “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 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,” the Prime Minister wrote.

He recalled that Hungary alone has so far spent over 590 billion forints from its national budget on border protection, and was among the first countries 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, the Hungarian border protection measures have become exemplary, Mr Orbán wrote, adding that by 2021 we can see that, 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 to combat hybrid attacks. All this justifies the arguments and funding demands that Hungary has long been stating, the Prime Minister stated his view in his message.

He recalled it had been articulated in the joint letter of 7th October signed by the ministers of interior of Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and the Slovak Republic: ‘Physical barrier 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’. Mr Orbán reminded the President of the Commission that he himself also underlined this in his statement at the last European Council meeting.

In his letter, the Hungarian Prime Minister pointed out 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 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,” Mr Orbán 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.

According to Mr Orbán, when they recall the need to preserve the unity of the European Union in crisis situations, they also acknowledge the common responsibility that connects Member States. “In our recent conclusions, we called upon the European Commission to propose the necessary changes to the EU 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 presently 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,” the Hungarian Prime Minister wrote in conclusion.