In recent months, the arrival of irregular immigrants has skyrocketed, although the laws have not changed. Some Slovak politicians believe that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is thus benefiting his ally in the neighboring country Robert Fico.
Through clandestine routes like this, thousands of people have crossed the border between Hungary and Slovakia.
Some twenty thousand irregular immigrants have done so in recent monthsaccording to local authorities.
They hope to obtain an official Slovak document and travel with it to Western Europe.
The fed up of the locals
“In the beginning there was a clear willingness to help on the part of the locals, they gave food and drink, and if they needed any other kind of help, they were happy to provide it,” recalls Viktor Lestyánszky, mayor of Ipeľské Predmostie. “But as it became more frequent and larger and larger groups arrived, I think people started to worry.”
Some swim across the Ipel River, which divides the two countries. Although those who do it on foot have it easier.
“The rickety pedestrian bridge linking Ipeľské Predmostie in Slovakia with the outskirts of Drégelypalánk in Hungary is one of the most important border crossings for migrants,” explains Euronews reporter Ádám Magyar. “A packet of red tobacco with Cyrillic letters, which has probably traveled with its owner from Serbia, shows that they have been here recently.”
A situation that benefits Orbán’s ally
The Slovak authorities assure that the official document they wish to obtain does not grant them any special privileges, but they insist. Their goal is to be arrested as soon as they arrive in Slovakia.
We have met a group already in police custody.
Although the entry document has been available for years, immigrants have only started coming recently. Some local politicians believe that the Hungary’s Interior Ministry has instructed the police not to block the passage of those heading to Slovakia.
The Hungarian police have not responded to our repeated request for a comment on this allegation.
Some analysts say blaming the Hungarian government sounds more like a conspiracy theory. But Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s ally in Slovakia is benefiting from the situation ahead of Saturday’s elections.
“The topic itself is certainly good for Robert Fico, because liberal or right-wing parties find it difficult to address it,” comments analyst Géza Tokár. “In any case, Slovakia has never been a destination country for immigrants, and the fact that large numbers of immigrants or illegal immigrants appear in Slovakia is clearly a new situation for the authorities, who are not prepared for it.”
Shortly afterward we returned to the same town, coinciding with the arrival of the bus for the migrants. After searching them, agents and soldiers made them get into the vehicle, which drove them to a meeting point in an abandoned and heavily guarded warehouse. We were not allowed to go further.