Hungary wants the European Union to pay half the bill for the razor-wired fence it erected in 2015 to keep migrants out, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration announced Thursday.
The fence has virtually erased illegal immigration into Hungary less than two years after it was considered the primary route for migrants attempting to enter the EU. Janos Lazar, Orban’s chief of staff, claims the 400 million euro ($476 million) figure is justified since the fence is “protecting all the citizens of Europe from the flood of illegal migrants.”
“If we talk about European solidarity, then we must also discuss the protection of borders. Solidarity must be applicable there, too,” Lazar said at a press conference. “That burden must also be shared.”
The government moved Wednesday to extend its state of emergency until March as the “threat of terrorism in Europe has increased.” Aside from the fence, hundreds of officers have been deployed to guard the border around the clock and a number of transition zones have been set up to detain asylum seekers.
The EU has taken legal action against Hungary over its refusal to accept refugees. Hungary has repeatedly defended itself by saying the measures are meant to serve the entire continent.
“It was not unknown what the most effective way to handle illegal border crossings is. Like it or not, and that’s the point we always make, there is no more effective way [to stop] illegal border crossings than building a physical barrier,” Kovacs told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a recent interview. “You might not like it, it’s not a nice thing, but … the only way to stop illegal border crossings is [to] first build a fence, man it, equip it, and also, in parallel, build up your capabilities in terms of legal confines, legal circumstances to be able to handle what is coming.”
This report, by Jacob Bojesson, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.