50 Czech policemen will be sent to Hungary to help protect the external border of the Schengen area, said Jan Hamaczek, the Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, on Monday. The Czechs will spend two months there.
The prime ministers of Hungary and the Czech Republic discussed the help of Czech soldiers or policemen, Viktor Orban and Andrej Babisz in Budapest last week. The mission is to cost around EUR 2 million. The Czechs already have police contingents in North Macedonia and Slovenia.
– The Czech Republic makes it clear that despite the fact that we do not have an external border, Schengen, we are in solidarity and help at the external border – said Jan Hamaczek. He added that the Czech contribution to the protection of the Schengen area’s border amounted to around 55 million euros over four years.
Orban and Babisz on the Hungarian-Serbian border
On September 22, during Babisz’s visit to Hungary, the heads of governments of both countries jointly visited the Hungarian-Serbian border near the Roszke crossing, which Hungary had built in 2015 at the height of the migration crisis. During a joint inspection at the border, Orban warned that Hungary would soon face increasing migratory pressure once again. He pointed out that it is through his country that many Afghans are trying to join the European Union.
In 2015, Orban’s government built a 175-kilometer barbed wire fence on the Serbian border to stem the unprecedented influx of migrants into the country. That year, over 400,000 people entered Europe via Hungary. The Hungarian authorities built a similar “wall” on the border with Croatia. During the visit, Babish Orban emphasized that although Hungarian fences are effective, more officers may be needed to effectively protect the borders.
According to commentators, Babisz’s visit to Hungary and his extremely hospitable welcome by the host (Orban greeted him personally at the airport) is an expression of Orban’s support for the Czech prime minister and his ANO party ahead of the parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic, which are scheduled for October 8-9.
Orban and Babisz have been close allies for years.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Szilard Costicsak