Delegation of Members of the CIVEX commission of the European Committee of the Regions visited Szeged, a city by the Hungarian border with Serbia on 20 April 2017. The CoR’s study visit upon invitation by Anna Magyar, Vice-President of County Council of Csongrád Megye, intended to showcase practical examples of international cooperation for border control at the external Schengen borders as well as enforcement of the Dublin regulation.

Obligations of the EU/Schengen border protection were presented in accordance with the currently binding Dublin regulations, followed by presentation of activities by the police forces and in the context of their international cooperation of border control services, as well as tasks of the Immigration office responsible for asylum seekers’ applications. Then an outline of the activities and difficulties of humanitarian NGOs as well as statements of two mayors from both sides of the Hungarian-Serbian border provided an extended insight into the local difficulties in managing the daily flow of irregular migrants.

The participants underlined the importance of Europe’s solidarity with refugees and migrants. However, they also stressed a need to offer solidarity to the local communities living in the border areas, whose quality of life, services and security has been affected by the unprecedented migratory pressures.

Members had also a chance to visit the Transit Zone near Röszke as well as the Command Centre.

The EPP Group delegation had additionally a chance to meet with bishop László Kiss-Rigó of Szeged-Csanád, who has expressed his interest in participation in the EPP Group’s external meeting in Budapest dedicated to Europe’s demographic challenges, in September 2017.

In 2015, Hungary improved the external border controls by building a barrier on its border with Serbia and Croatia. The fence was constructed during the European migrant crisis, with the aim to ensure border security by preventing immigrants from entering illegally, and enabling the option to enter through official checkpoints and claim asylum in Hungary in accordance with international and European law.

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