Prague, Czech Republic – Some 50 Czech police officers will be deployed at Hungary’s southern border, deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek announced this week.
The contingent’s mission will be to support Hungary in securing its border with Serbia. It will start on October 15 and last two months.
The cost of the mission is estimated at 50 million Kc (approximately €2 million).
Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) travelled to Hungary, including to the border area, last week to meet with Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban.
During his visit, the Czech PM said he fully supported Hungary in its fight against migration, promising to send soldiers or border guards to help its V4 ally.
M. Babis, who is facing a tough reelection bid next month, has stepped up his anti-immigration rhetoric in recent weeks in a bid to garner support from undecided voters.
Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban is scheduled to travel to Prague on September 29 to hold talks with his Czech counterpart and President Milos Zeman. Later that day, he should also attend a campaign event of the ANO leader in the north Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem.
The Czech Republic already has a small police force deployed at Slovenia’s border with Croatia, as well as another in North Macedonia. The country has spent a total of 1.1 billion Kc over the past four years on programs related to the protection of the Schengen Area’s external borders, according to deputy PM Hamacek.
“The Czech Republic clearly shows that though we do not have an external border with the Schengen Area, we express solidarity and support those with external borders,” Hamacek told reporters.
Earlier this month, the Czech government also pledged financial aid to Lithuania to help the Baltic state build a fence along its eastern border.
Along with Poland and Latvia, Lithuania has faced an upsurge in arrivals of migrants from neighbouring Belarus, with many seeing the recent developments as a deliberate strategy from Minsk to foster instability in its EU and NATO neighbours.