Last September, against the backdrop of the growing migrant crisis in Europe, Hungary erected barbed wire border fences to fend off the growing flow of asylum seekers fleeing the war-torn Middle East.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, responding to criticism at the time, said that Hungary and all of Europe was in danger and he was acting to save Europe’s “Christian values” by blocking the main overland route used by mainly Muslim refugees through the Balkans.
“Our borders are in danger, our way of life built on respect for the law, Hungary and the whole of Europe is in danger,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, the Hungarian parliament passed a new law allowing soldiers to fire rubber bullets and use tear gas at those trying to cross the border “in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided”.
But apparently this is not sufficient enough for Hungary as its Central Bank is now stockpiling guns and ammo.
As Bloomberg reports:
Hungary’s central bank, already facing criticism for a spending spree ranging from real estate to fine art, is now beefing up its security force, citing Europe’s migrant crisis and potential bomb threats among the reasons.
The Central Bank of Hungary has bought 200,000 rounds of ammo and 112 guns.
The National Bank of Hungary bought 200,000 rounds of live ammunition and 112 handguns for its security company, according to documents posted on a website for public procurements.
The Central Bank Governor cites a rise in “international security risks” including bomb and terror threats.
Additional protection is needed due to the rise of “international security risks” including bomb and terror threats and migration, central bank Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy said in a written response to a lawmaker who asked about the purchases, posted on Parliament’s website Feb. 17. The central bank’s assumption of the role of financial regulator and the related increase in the number of its properties also contributed to the need for further defenses, he said.
The security measures added to public scrutiny of the running of the bank, which under Matolcsy earmarked 200 billion forint ($718 million) to set up foundations to teach alternatives to what he called “outdated neoliberal” economics. Another $108 million fund used for buying fine art including a painting by Titian also drew criticism from opposition parties, as did a series of investments in office buildings and villas.