The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban recently announced that a second border fence on the border with Serbia will be built to keep out any potential wave of refugees.
Last year Hungry built a 500km razor wire fence which included the area bordering Serbia and Croatia, after the country witnessed an increase of refugees moving from the Balkans towards northern Europe. Stricter border patrols and the makeshift wall have led to a significant decrease in the number of refugees reaching Hungary. Last year around 400,000 migrants crossed Hungary on their way to western and northern Europe, but less than 18,000 have entered in 2016, according to official data.
“Technical planning is under way to erect a massive defence system next to the existing line of defence which was built quickly [last year],” Orban recently said in an interview with Hungarian public radio.
“If it doesn’t work with nice words, we’ll have to stop them with force, and we will do so.”
The treatment of refugees by Hungary has been criticized over the past year. Those who pass the Hungarian-Serbian border get stuck in “no mans land”–Hungarian territory that the authorities do not administer to.
Human Rights Watch has recently realeased a report that cited refugees who claimed that border guards beat up those who tried to make their way from “no-man’s land” into Hungary.
Lydia Gall, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said
“Hungary is breaking all the rules for asylum seekers…The European Commission should use its enforcement powers to press Budapest to comply with its obligation under EU law, to provide meaningful access to asylum and fair procedures for those at its borders and on its territory.”
Additionally, Orban had criticised the EU’s policy of taking in refugees and distributing them over its member states based on a refugee quota. He is due to meet and discuss the policy with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The question is whether Angela Merkel will be willing to change this flawed Brussels decision and whether she is willing to fight with us for this or not,” Orban said.
Currently Turkey and the EU are working together to decrease the number refugees travelling from Turkey through the Balkans to reach Europe. However , recent tensions between the EU and Turkey have led to this deal being called into question by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If the deal does not go as it is planned Hungary may see an increase of refugees reaching its border , which has already promoted the plans for this second border fence.
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