Germany clarifies migrant rules to Hungary

Germany says refugees must seek asylum in Hungary before moving on to other countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A boy looks at Hungarian police officers as a train heading for Austria, with migrants on board, is stopped for checks at a border station in Hegyeshalom, Hungary

Germany has told Hungarian authorities that refugees arriving in Hungary must first apply for asylum there before moving on to other countries.

The clarification from the German government came after a Hungarian government spokesman asked Germany about the legal status of refugees travelling illegally through European Union nations.

Speaking to Hungary’s State News Agency MTI on Monday, spokesman Andras Giro-Szasz pointed out that according to the EU's Schengen rules, refugees cannot leave Hungary unless they are carrying valid documentation and a vise from the country of destination.

However, due to Germany accepting Syrian refugees without following the strict regulations, masses of hopeful migrants have been gathering in railway stations in the Hungarian capital Budapest.

"In order to end the untransparent and adverse conditions we ask Germany to clarify the legal situation," Giro-Szasz said.

Hungary is often used as a transit point for refugees seeking to enter more northern, wealthier European countries including Germany, with as many 150,000 refugees entering the country so far this year.

Hungary recently constructed a 175 kilometre long razor-wire fence around its borders with Serbia to prevent refugees arriving from war-torn countries - mainly Syria - to continue further into Europe.

Budapest is further tightening measures on border crossing by refugees imposing harsh laws and allocating more than 2,000 so-called "border hunter" patrols to track “trespassers” by September.

In June, the Hungarian government announced that it had suspended a key European Union asylum rule which necessitates that refugees be processed in the EU country they first arrive in.

Hungary is one of the EU member states part of Europe’s Schengen treaty, which allows migrants in EU to cross borders freely in many of the 28-member bloc states.

However, according to the Dublin III Regulations, EU states can send migrants back to Hungary to process asylum applications.

TRTWorld and agencies