Speaking to the media after inspecting a border fence with Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini, Orban said the fence was not only protecting Hungary but also protecting Slovakia and expressed his gratitude for Slovakia’s support. “This is hard work which we would have a hard time doing without help and our allies,” Orban said.
After their tour, Orban posted a video on Facebook with the message, “Defending Europe together”.
Orban said Hungary’s secret service had a particularly clear view of “how the movement of migrants is being organised” because his government agents monitor the movements closely.
He insisted that the migrants were backed by organisations claiming to be NGOs but which are actually operating as human trafficking gangs. These organisations had significant financial resources and considerable logistical capabilities, he pointed out. Migration is helped by “half human trafficking organisations calling themselves NGOs,” he told the journalists at the impromptu news conference.
The prime minister said the international media has been issuing inaccurate reports on the migrants, adding that 95 percent of the illegal entrants were in fact “military-age men”. Orban noted that while in Europe it is forbidden to say so, it must still be said that this is “organised migration”.
Pellegrini was invited by his host to inspect the border as there had been a sharp rise in the number of illegal border crossings recently. More than 5 000 migrants have attempted to enter Hungary illegally so far this year, he said, adding that a lot of organised migrant groups were also coming to the border.
There were some 100 000 migrants currently heading for Europe via the Balkan route and if they manage to enter Hungary, they would also eventually reach Slovakia.
The Hungarian leader expressed his gratitude to the Slovak government for the assistance it has provided to Hungary in its border protection efforts. The two leaders strengthened their agreement stating that Slovakia would assist its neighbour if migration pressure on the border increases once again.
In response to a question, Orban nevertheless stated that Hungary’s border was not closed, since those wanting to enter Hungary’s territory, were free to “knock”, and follow the proper procedure. Those who opt for this method, he said, have to wait in the transit zone for the legal procedure to be concluded.
Migrants opting for the legal route are taken care of and once their applications are approved they are free to enter Hungary. If they fail, they must leave the transit zone, he explained.
“If everyone acted this way life would be nice,” Orban said. “But the majority don’t, but instead choose the illegal path.” He said that mobs of migrants had tried to break through the fence recently, noting that at one point warning shots had to be fired.
Some 71 migrants had unsuccessfully tried to penetrate the Hungarian border after around 700 migrants recently massed at the Serbian border after rumors that Hungary would open its borders. Serbian police had to transport them away. The attempt underlines the threat Europe is currently facing.
He said the understanding between Hungary and Serbia was good enough to handle the migrant situation too. Hungary erected the temporary fence along the Serbian border in August 2015, at the peak of the migration crisis and both border police and the military are currently patrolling along the border.
In response to a question, Orban said Brussels was not “going to give us a single cent to finance the fence because we’re on the wrong list”. Because Hungary was the first to build a fence on its border, “we’re the number-one culprits”.
Pellegrini stressed the importance of protecting the Hungarian-Serbian border, since it is the southern border of the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone. He confirmed that Slovakia, too, would face problems if the border were to be breached by migrants.