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Fortifying EU Borders: Hungary says ready to put up more fences on its borders to keep out migrants

Hungary is ready to build a fence on its border with Romania to keep out migrants. It’s the latest sign of Budapest’s growing resistance to the flow of people trying to enter from the Middle East and North Africa. Hungary has already erected barriers on its frontiers with Serbia and Croatia.

Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister:

“We are ready, we have made the necessary preparatory works already on the Romanian-Hungarian border, if we have to build a fence there we are ready from the next day.”

The fences put up by Hungary initially attracted criticism from other European Union members. But Austria and Slovenia have since taken similar steps. Budapest says Europe’s southern borders are still wide open. It believes EU plans to bolster frontier defence are insufficient.

Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister:

“If it was not tragic, I would laugh when I hear European officials speaking about ‘hundreds’ of Frontex officers being the solution — it’s not the case. Greece has multiple thousands of kilometres of maritime border, hundreds of islands, so it doesn’t require hundreds of Frontex officers, it requires thousands, tens of thousands, of police and military personnels, tens of thousands, more tens of thousands.”

Meanwhile, in spite of cold weather, migrants continue to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. Here, some 1,000 people are estimated to be crossing daily from Macedonia into Serbia. For many the ultimate goal is to reach Germany via Slovenia and Austria. But those two countries now say they will deny entry to migrants intending to pass through and not apply for asylum. Balkan countries outside the EU fear they could be left to deal with the migrant crisis alone. European Council President Donald Tusk says the EU must find a solution within two months. Failure to do so, he warns, will lead to the collpase of the bloc’s passport-free Schengen Zone.

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