Hungary seeks to tighten the border with Serbia

Hungary to legislate tightening security measures of its border with Serbia to stem the rising flow of migrants and asylum seekers

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Hungary is set to tighten security measures at its southern border with Serbia in a bid to control the rising number of illegal migrants and refugees attempting to enter the country.

Hungary has received about 50,000 asylum requests so far this year, compared to 43,000 in 2014 and 2,157 in 2012. Most asylum-seekers have come to Hungary from Kosovo, Afghanistan and Syria.

Hungary borders Serbia, which is not an EU member. Most asylum-seekers move on to other European Union member states but Germany and Austria have signaled that they are were planning to send some 15,000 migrants back to Hungary.

"Fidesz's parliamentary faction is considering drawing up a bill and practically making a proposal to close the southern border with certain legal means," Antal Rogan, the head of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party's parliamentary group told Kossuth radio.

"In practice this would mean that we'd pass a law saying that those entering Hungary from a safe country, from a safe transit country, cannot apply for political asylum here."

Lajos Kosa, vice chairman of the governing Fidesz party, said in Tuesday's Napi Gazdasag newspaper that while there would be no fence at the border, migrants "simply will not be allowed in," Fox News reported.

"The Fidesz proposal would prevent those arriving illegally to Hungary from a secure country from being able to seek asylum status," government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told the Associated Press. "It is not true that the lives of those arriving from Greece or Serbia are in danger."

Kovacs, however, did not rule out the possibility of a barbed wire fence on the border with Serbia. "We hope for the best, but are preparing for the worst," Kovacs said.

According to the Hungarian Spectrum, Fidesz will seek to change the law on the refugee status of immigrants by authorising the government to set up “a list of so-called safe third countries.”

There is no information on how long the list of “safe” countries will be, but it is expected that Serbia will be on it. Once Serbia is declared a safe country, there will be no need for barbed wire fences along the Hungarian-Serbian border, which had been mentioned earlier by some politicians.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban previously criticised the European Union’s proposals for migrant quotas as "bordering on insanity."

According to the details of the quota proposal, the number of migrants each European member country would have to accept will depend on its GDP, unemployment rate and the number of registered migrants it already houses.

The EU is expected to pay 6,000 euros per each migrant a country takes in.

TRTWorld and agencies