Slovakia to deploy five hundred soldiers to border with Hungary

September 07. 2023. – 12:23 PM



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The Slovak government has adopted several measures designed to reduce the influx of refugees from Hungary, reports. Slovakia's Prime Minister of Hungarian descent Lajos Ódor said following a cabinet meeting that while at the beginning of the summer there were only a few hundred refugees arriving each week, which the police had enough manpower to handle, there are now several thousand people arriving each week, and up to 500 soldiers could be sent to the Slovak-Hungarian border to alleviate the burden on the police.

Nevertheless, the Slovak government does not intend to introduce border controls at the country's border with Hungary. “We cannot be there behind every tree, but there will certainly be a bigger police and military presence. There may be checks at some crossings, but not everywhere. However, if, for example, a closed van arrives, it may be checked.”

Ódor said a common EU solution must be found to the refugee situation, and regretted the failure to get the support of all states for a common proposal at the last summit.

At the time, it was Hungary which rejected a proposal that would have obliged member states to show solidarity: everyone would have had to play their part in dealing with the refugee crisis, including those less affected.

The PM did not wish to "speculate" on what was causing the sudden surge in numbers. "Refugees are not coming from Mars, they are arriving via Hungary, but they are also trying to enter Austria from Hungary in the same or perhaps even greater numbers," he said. According to Ódor, the strengthening of the Slovakian route may also be due to the fact that the Austrians have recently tightened border controls at their border with Hungary.

He also did not want to theorise about whether the number of refugees arriving in Slovakia may be affected by the Hungarian government's release of convicted foreign traffickers who were expelled from Hungary but it's not checked whether they actually leave the country. As Parameter reports, some Slovak parties have not ruled out the possibility that the Hungarian government is deliberately diverting refugees towards Slovakia in order to influence the outcome of the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of September.

Ódor also said that cooperation with Hungarian authorities, especially the police, was important.

"Protecting the Schengen border is important, and joint patrols on the Hungarian side of the Slovak-Hungarian border are also important,"

he said. He added that Hungary could count on Slovakia in both areas. Joint patrolling on the Hungarian side of the Slovak-Hungarian border is also important because refugees detained in Hungary are being deported back to Serbia.

Three days ago, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová said she was fed up with Hungary letting people smugglers walk free and would like to talk to President Novák about illegal migration. She said that "many migrants who are now in Slovakia were previously in Hungary. The fact is that they arrive here without any problems". Meanwhile, on 14 July, the European Commission launched a new infringement procedure against Hungary, as the country was found to be in breach of the EU's anti-trafficking directive and the framework decision on criminal sanctions.

In addition to the deployment of soldiers to the border, the Slovak government has also decided to abolish the compulsory issuing of a "residence certificate in Slovakia", leaving it in the law only as an option. The draft will be put to the House in an extraordinary session on Thursday. According to Ódor, this paper represented an incentive for refugees. "They interpret it as some kind of official document authorising them to stay in the Schengen area," he said, explaining why the document should be abolished.

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