Hungary's border fence with Serbia "not bilateral issue"

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says the Hungarian government has decided to build a temporary fence on the border with Serbia "as soon as possible."

Source: Tanjug
Share

The goal is to stop the flow of illegal migrants from third countries.

Szijjarto told a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the fence, to which Serbia is opposed, "is not a bilateral issue" and that "relations with Serbia have never been as good as today."

He pointed out that several laws need to be amended before the fence could start being built, but said nothing about when the works might begin, Tanjug reported.

The minister added that "61,000 illegal migrants entered Hungary in 2015, almost all by crossing the border with Serbia."

The majority of migrants who seek refugee status in Hungary leave the country very soon to go further west into Europe. Szijarto said he was informed that Hungary, Austria and ten other EU member-states intended to send illegal immigrants back to Hungary.

"We do not agree with that," Szijarto said, adding that "they should be sent back to Greece, where they first entered the territory of the European Union."

It was reported on Tuesday that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban decided to suspend the implementation of the Dublin III Agreement, regulating jurisdiction regarding asylum seekers.

This means EU countries can no longer expel asylum seekers to Hungary, although Hungarian authorities would responsible for the migrants, considering they first entered the EU when they came to that country.

Responding to this, the European Commission called on Budapest "to immediately explain why the agreement was suspended."

"Since the Dublin agreement does not provide for the possibility that states that receive asylum seekers suspend their transfer, the Commission asks Hungary to immediately clarify the nature and extent of the technical omission, as well as measures to rectify the situation," said a European Commission spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that his country "cannot tolerate the decision of Hungary to suspend implementation of the agreement."

Kurz said that the decision was unacceptable, and, during a telephone conversation with his Hungarian counterpart Szijjarto, indicated that it will have "negative consequences."

"This Austria cannot tolerate," said Kurz.

"We want a European solution, but we must protect Hungary's interests and of our population," a spokesman for Orban, Zoltan Kovacs, told the Vienna daily Die Presse.

"The boat is full," he said, adding that Hungary "cannot accept further tens of thousands of 'Dublin cases'."

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Hungary informed the authorities in Vienna of its decision, after which the Austrian Foreign Ministry summoned the Hungarian ambassador.

The suspension the Dublin III agreement came "for technical reasons," said the Hungarian authorities, while Kovacs said the suspension would be in force "for an indefinite period."

In addition to Austria, Hungary has notified Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia and Germany of its latest measure.

Region

page 1 of 14 go to page