The spread of political Islam through Western Europe has been made possible by a failed, German-led migration policy that has led to an increased risk of terrorism across the continent, the chief security advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned.
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, György Bakondi took aim at the way Western European governments had not just turned a blind eye to, but actively encouraged illegal immigration following the migrant crisis of 2015, and claimed that the future of the continent is in doubt without a radical U-turn on immigration.
The newspaper, considered one of Germany’s leading broadsheets, claims that Hungary’s isolationist approach to migration is “highly controversial” but acknowledges that “more and more European countries are not only taking Hungarian border fences as a model but are also planning tougher migration policies”.
Asked by Die Welt journalist Zara Riffler about the situation on the Hungarian border following a recent Hungarian intelligence report that warned of terror cells such as Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban’s Haqqani network exploiting migratory routes to send jihadists to Europe, Bakondi recounted previous terror attacks that took place following the mass influx of migrants in 2015.
“To answer this question, you have to keep the past in mind. From 2015 to today, there have been so many different terrorist acts in Europe that are directly related to migration. Take the 2015 Bataclan attacks in Paris. The terrorists who killed 130 people entered Europe illegally,” Bakondi said.
“They were Belgian and French citizens and grew up in Europe as second or fourth generation. First, they went to Syria to fight for ISIS. Then they came back to Europe to carry out the attack.
“When they were at the border, they didn’t use their Belgian passport but pretended to be Syrian refugees. They mingled with the crowd as 400,000 migrants crossed the Hungarian border. This is also why Hungary made the political decision in 2015 to close the border so that terrorists could not enter unnoticed disguised as refugees to carry out attacks in Europe,” he added.
Border officials are detaining jihadists at Hungary’s external border
The Hungarian prime minister’s chief security advisor revealed that border police are picking up Islamists at the country’s external border “who planned to commit murders in Europe”, as well as many Afghan nationals with “close connections to the Taliban government or its secret service.”
He warned that smugglers working in collaboration with proscribed terrorist organizations are turning “very violent” and smuggling gangs are “now fighting each other with violence and weapons” for control of the migratory routes.
This has led to an increased armed response by Hungarian border officials, Bakondi explained.
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“We use weapons to protect the borders. According to Hungarian law, it is legal for border guards to use their firearms for their own protection. The criminal smuggling gangs are increasingly using pistols and Kalashnikovs,” he told the broadsheet.
Bakondi recounted an incident in a border town where a civilian was attacked with hand grenades in his home because he had informed the police that smugglers were nearby.
When pressed on the use of firearms by Hungarian authorities, the security advisor revealed that a total of 2,000 armed incidents had occurred on the Hungarian-Serbian border in 2022 and 2023 collectively but that most of these were “warning shots.”
Sleeper jihadists are living in Europe and ready to strike at any moment
On the increasing threat of Islamist terror attacks in Western Europe, evidenced recently by several incidents in Germany, Belgium, France, and Spain where terror suspects were arrested amid substantial plans to attack Christmas markets, synagogues, and the Cologne Cathedral, Bakondi said he expects more terror attacks across the continent in the near future.
“Everything is connected to 2015,” he explained. “Since then, millions of migrants have come to Europe uncontrolled and illegally. Many of these illegal migrants now live in major European cities. The great sympathy for Islamism is already evident there in the anti-Semitic demonstrations against Israel. This is really, very serious anti-Semitism,” he added.
“We will face growing migration movements and more terrorism,” he warned, adding that terrorists are now living undetected in large Muslim communities in major European cities where they can “go underground and hide.”
He spoke of “sleepers in the middle of Europe” who had been ordered to infiltrate the continent “specifically to murder.”
“These sleepers can commit terrorist attacks at any time. This only happened in October, when two Swedish football fans were murdered in Belgium. The ISIS terrorist came from Tunisia and applied for asylum in Belgium in 2019. Foreign security authorities reported in 2016 that the man had a radicalized profile and wanted to go to a conflict area to wage jihad,” he said.
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When asked whether Hungary’s border fence really worked as a deterrent, Orbán’s security advisor replied, “Of course, it works! Since 2015, we have invested 650 billion forints – around €2 billion – in border protection. Of course, we don’t just do this for Hungary: we protect the Schengen area, Europe, and European citizens.”
Is Hungary’s approach to migration now the European mainstream?
Journalist Zara Riffler noted that Hungary’s “tough border regime has suddenly become the European mainstream” and asked whether Hungary could now go from being a bogeyman — at least in the eyes of the European liberal elite — to being a role model.
“We Hungarians weren’t the first,” Bakondi noted. “We used Greece’s fence with Turkey or Spain’s fence with Morocco as a model, for example. However, strong legal protection is needed to ensure that migrants who manage to cross the border can be sent back behind the fence.”
He indicated that many European nations were now following suit, including Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria, and most recently Finland which closed its borders with Russia late last year.
“If the question is whether they all follow our border policy: Yes, they do. The reason for this is that domestic politics is becoming increasingly sensitive for these countries, which is why dissatisfied European citizens should now get the feeling that the threat of uncontrolled migration has ended,” Bakondi said.
In another thinly veiled critique of Hungary’s “tough approach” which Riffler claimed was still “highly controversial” in Western Europe due to accusations of illegal pushbacks and a strict asylum law, Bakondi reminded the journalist that Hungary has continued to take in Ukrainian refugees and “helps them with everything.”
“Since the start of the war, more than a million refugees have come to Hungary from Ukraine. For Ukraine, Hungary is the safest country they enter first. So Hungary helps real refugees. But migrants who have already crossed several safe states before reaching Hungary and then shoot border guards with submachine guns are not welcome,” he reiterated.