Hungary has opted to install 100 miles of razor wire along the border with Serbia in an attempt to halt the flow of migrants from Syria. This comes days after the European Commission allotted a €2.4 billion fund to aid “frontier countries”, those on the edges of the European Union.
Hungary claims that more than 1500 migrants per day are attempting to cross into the country, and that more than 15,000 migrants have entered the country illegally since June. The main attraction of Hungary is to move onward into Europe – Hungary is in the Schengen area, meaning there are border controls between EU nations with the exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The government in Hungary says the situation is dire, and has defied EU rules in order to suspend asylum claims. Almost 75,000 people have attempted to claim asylum this year. Hungary is a popular choice due to its formerly porous border with Serbia. The Balkan states have become a popular choice for refugees and asylum seekers as once inside an EU member state, it is much easier to travel to destinations like Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which have all see higher than usual levels of migrants since the beginning of the year.
Many of the refugees are fleeing warzones in Syria, Libya and Iraq as the conflict with ISIL rages on.
However, popular opinion in Hungary continues to be staunchly against refugees – with some stating that Hungary was poorer than Syria was, and the see it is unfair that predominantly Muslim migrants should be able to seek refuge in their country. Indeed, many migrants attempt to move further west through Hungary once they’ve crossed the border in search of more accepting lands.
The building of a 4-metre high razor fence may ease domestic tensions in Hungary, but it will likely cause a larger humanitarian crisis in Serbia, as many more migrants arrive with fewer, if any, being allowed to enter the country. That will be an issue Europe can’t afford to ignore, and opens up another front in the current refugee crisis in the east.