OREANDA-NEWS. In Szeged on Tuesday, György Bakondi, the Prime Minister’s Chief Advisor on Homeland Security, said that “The police and members of the Hungarian Defence Force have taken great efforts to prepare for the introduction of the new border protection system, which guarantees the security of the Hungarian people and the protection of external borders”.

At a press conference held at the Border Police Vocational School in Szeged, Mr. Bakondi said that “The goal of the new border protection system introduced along the Hungarian-Serbian and Hungarian-Croatian borders on Tuesday is to prevent illegal immigrants from being in Hungary, but to allow those who wish to submit requests for asylum”.

“The essence of the measures, which came into force at midnight on Monday, is that migrants who are apprehended within a zone extending eight kilometres inside the border are given a warning by police; providing they have not committed a crime, they are escorted back to the border security fence, and are shown through the gate to the nearest transit zone, where they can submit their request for asylum”, Mr. Bakondi explained. People who are proven to have crossed or damaged the border security fence, or who are suspected of people trafficking, will continue to be held in custody, he added.

Mr. Bakondi said that the new and improved border control system enhances public order and public safety and is in harmony with the Hungarian government’s efforts to protect Hungary’s external Schengen borders and prevent hundreds of thousands of people from entering the territory of the European Union “without us knowing anything” about their identity, goals and further plans.

National Police Commissioner Károly Papp told reporters that 826 people had attempted to illegally cross the border between midnight on Monday and midday on Tuesday. Patrolling police and border control officers prevented 675 attempts at illegal entry, while the remaining 151 people were apprehended within the eight-kilometre zone and escorted back to the border; all the illegal immigrants cooperated with police.

In recent days more police – currently numbering more than six thousand – have been deployed to the area to help protect the border. Police are also performing crime- and public order-related duties, in addition to which Csongrád and Bács-Kiskun County neighbourhood watch personnel are also assisting police with the “multi-line” protection of the border.

The National Police Commissioner told reporters: “In January the average daily number of illegal border crossers was 16, increasing to 79 in February, while for the past month this number was 120. Previously, migrants who arrived in Hungary had generally entered the territory of the European Union in Greece, but over the past month increasing numbers have been arriving via Bulgaria”. The National Police Commissioner explained that “The police are working in close cooperation with neighbouring countries to facilitate effective action against people traffickers. So far this year 163 people traffickers have been remanded in custody”.

Chief of Staff of the Hungarian National Defence Force Tibor Benkő said that “On 8 July Hungarian army personnel will have been participating in border defence duties for exactly one year. Soldiers first worked on construction of the temporary border security fence, after which they took part in international exercises, and for several months now they have been helping the police in their work”. “Personnel from the Hungarian Defence Force are carrying out patrol duties and air and land reconnaissance, medical duties in transit zones, and are also prepared to perform crowd control tasks”, Major-General Benkő said.

“In the interests of reinforcing border protection, the number of military personnel on duty at the border will be increased by 50 per cent, while the volume of technical equipment used for this task will be increased by almost one third”, the Chief of Staff told reporters, adding that “If required, personnel from the Hungarian Defence Force are prepared to construct a border security fence along the Hungarian-Romanian border”.