Counterterrorism and Immigration in Hungary


  • Phoenix Skylar Berman College of Liberal Arts and Sciences



immigration, terrorism, Hungary, European Union, security


The European migration crisis beginning in 2014 served as a turning point in Hungarian politics where immigration issues effectively altered the nation’s security environment. The migratory routes as a pathway for illegal border crossings positioned Hungary on the frontline as a transit country for migrants seeking asylum in Western Europe. A critical analysis of Orbán's rhetoric and Hungary’s behavior in the realm of immigration and counterterrorism (CT) policy during and after the immigration crisis is relevant in understanding the state’s security environment. Anti-immigrant sentiments reflected in the population and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's rhetoric aims to tie refugee migration to terrorist acitvity. Migrants were targeted as a risk to the traditional European identity and survival of the state with a specific emphasis on Muslim migration from the Middle East and North Africa. This study seeks to understand Hungary’s regional and global security role and how CT activity is used by the government to legitimize government actions, particularly on immigration via securitization theory from the Copenhagen School. Hungary has heightened its role on the international stage through transnational CT cooperation and capitalized on anti-immigrant sentiments through speech acts to further exercise its influence in border control and the international fight against global terrorism. By examining a total of 36 speeches presented by Orbán from 2015 to 2020, the study is able to examine how immigration issues were securitized to develop pathways for extraordinary actions and authoritarian reforms performed by securitizing actors.



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