Hungarian deadline on closing of Croatian border nears

Hungarian government says decision on sealing off its border with Croatia could be made at meeting in Brussels

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orban arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 15, 2015

A top Hungarian government official declared on Thursday that the construction of a fence on the Hungary-Croatia border has been finished, adding that the army and police are authorised to seal off the border after the decision is made. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Chief of Staff, Janos Lazar said regarding the refugee crisis that there were no technical obstacles in the way of closing the border with Croatia and a decision on sealing off the border depends on the result of Orban’s meetings later today in Brussels.

Lazar said earlier that Hungary had consulted with Austria and Germany about the decision on closing its border with Croatia.

Orban said on Thursday that he would hold the final talks at a European Union summit on refugee crisis in Brussels before making his decision on whether to close the border with Croatia.

Orban will hold talks with its Visegrad Four partners, Poland,Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well as point out the issue again at a summit of EU leaders on Thursday evening.

"We can say the final word on this tomorrow morning," Orban said.

"We are ready, the technical structures needed to defend the border are in place, and our forces are present as well.”

More than 378,000 refugees have entered Hungary so far this year. Lazar said by the end of the year the number of refugees trying to cross Hungary’s borders could reach 600,000 to 700,000.

The fence is protected with razor wire and is built on the border with Croatia.

The Hungarian government also built a 3.5 metre fence on the country's border with Serbia and implemented additional laws targeting refugees to stop the influx.

Hungary sees cutting through or crossing the fence as a crime.

Almost all the refugees crossing Hungary are on their way to Austria then to Germany and other EU members.

TRTWorld and agencies