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Lázár and Giró-Szász tight-lipped on Ukraine

Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár and state secretary for government communications András Giró-Szász today held their last marathon press conference for the month of July.

The Great Fence of Hungary

Lázár said the government plans on erecting two types of fences along the Hungarian side of its border with Serbia to stop “the record number of economic migrants and illegal border crossers entering Hungary”.

One type of fence will be erected in those areas where Hungary’s border with Serbia is easily accessible and typically used by the migrants entering the country. The other type of border fence will be for those sections that already have serious natural barriers dividing the two countries.

The border fence along areas frequently entered by migrants will be supported by poles buried 1.5 meters deep standing 3 meters above ground. It will also brandish barbed wiring.

The decision to erect two types of fence comes after the Hungarian military started construction of 150 meters of “sample fences” last Monday near the southern Hungarian town of Mórahalom.

Giró-Szász said EU countries which have constructed border fences to combat the flow of migrants managed to reduce by 90 percent the number of migrants entering their countries.

Lázár said the government would compensate property owners along the border to the tune of HUF 160-170 per square meter used for constructing the barrier. Property owners can take the government to court if they object to the level of compensation, he said. The fence will use approximately 100 hectares of private property along Hungary’s border with Serbia.

The minister reiterated earlier statements regarding the future criminalization of crossing into Hungary unlawfully. He said the Hungarian parliament will vote to modify the country’s criminal code in the autumn upon returning from its summer recess.

It seems the government has abandoned plans to force prison inmates and refugees to build the fence. Lázár said the Hungarian military will build the fence under the supervision of the Interior Ministry.

The minister confirmed that the fence would be built on the Hungarian side ten metres from the border and that signs would notify refugees seeking asylum where to find the nearest legal border crossing.

When asked what the government would do with migrants who are standing on the Hungarian side of the border but beyond the fence, Giró-Szász said once the government changes Hungary’s criminal code the migrants will be treated as criminals for entering Hungary regardless of which side of the fence they are standing on.

Lázár said Hungarian clandestine operations will take place in Ukraine whether they like it or not

Responding to a question regarding reports that Hungary’s ambassador to Ukraine was summoned by the Ukrainian foreign ministry because of comments made by Lázár last week regarding Hungary’s clandestine operations in Ukraine, Lázár said Hungary will do everything to protect Hungarians, and Ukraine just needs to understand that.

Neither Giró-Szász nor Lázár elaborated on whether Hungary informs Ukraine’s government of its clandestine operations in Ukraine. Giró-Szász merely observed that “they call it ‘clandestine operations’ for a reason”.

Benjamin Novak :