Serbia, Hungary cooperation to halt influx of migrants

Leaders of Serbia and Hungary declare cooperation to stop illegal migration

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic visited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest yesterday to discuss ways to help slow a possible influx of illegal migration.

Speaking after the meeting with Mr Vucic, Mr Orban stressed that he believes the problem of massive migration towards Europe will be a chronic problem.

"It's an illusion for anyone to think that people from the African crisis areas will keep arriving in Europe only until the crises there are pacified," he told reporters, adding "If we allow it, a modern mass migration could take place of millions, even tens of millions and even hundreds of millions."

Mr Orban also mentioned European Union rules and pointed out the importance of the EU’s cooperation with Hungary to support the country’s immigration policy.

“In cooperation with its neighbours, Hungary will try to take adequate measures. We are now in a situation where masses of people are coming, and countries in western Europe want to send them back to us, which is why there is pressure on us from the south and the west.”

Hungary announced in mid-June plans to build a four-metre high, 175 kilometre-long fence to stem the flow of illegal migrants from the Serbian border.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the chef of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship of the European Commission visited Budapest on Tuesday.

The Commissioner Avramopoulos told reporters that European Commission will offer Hungary almost €8 million to help cope with the influx of migrants.

“Europe will always support frontline member states and Hungary is a frontline member state,” he said.

“Hungary is under pressure. We were talking so far about Italy and Greece. Now we added Hungary.”

The Hungarian decision to build a fence angered Serbia and the international community.

“We consider the whole issue of the fence an issue of border control. We don’t consider it an issue of human rights, foreign policy or bilateral relations,” Hungary’s premier said yesterday.

“This step ... is not directed towards the Serbian people, because we will have new legal border crossings,” Mr Orban added.

Serb leader Vucic told the media that while the wall was "not pleasant" for Serbia, they are going to act together with Hungary to find a solution.

"We all know that Hungary is not building a fence against Serbia, because Hungary is friendly toward Serbia and Serbia feels the same about Hungary and Hungarians," Vucic said.

"It is in Hungary's interests to defend its own territory."

Hungarian police have detained more than 67,000 illegal immigrants this year, mostly coming from Serbia, more than 1,000 people a day over the past week, the Associated Press reported.

Hungarian and Austrian police forces announced in the last week of June that they would deploy mobile patrols along the border between Serbia and Macedonia.

Meanwhile, Macedonia has become a major transit country for thousands of refugees and migrants who cross over from Greece and then continue into Serbia.

In an effort to decrease border crossings and to get transit passages under control, Macedonia changed the legislation for asylum and temporarily enacted a new law which states that migrants passing through the country can stay a maximum 72 hours, after which they must leave or apply for asylum.

TRTWorld and agencies