Hungary seeks support for effort to block migrants entering from Croatia

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 25, 2015 6:28 AM

VIENNA/BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary will seek support for its efforts to try to block the flood of migrants on its southern border with Croatia, similar to the measures implemented on its border with Serbia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Vienna on Friday.

Hungary's right-wing government has pledged to protect Hungarian borders and the European Union's external frontiers in response to the migrant influx. A 3.5-metre high steel fence built along its boundaries with Serbia and the government's tough clampdown on illegal migration have reduced the flood of migrants on the Serbian border to a trickle.

However, migrants are now flooding in via Greece and the Balkans from Croatia and Hungary has started to erect a fence on this border as well.

For now, thousands of migrants arriving on the Croatian-Hungarian border are shipped every day to the Austrian border.

The flood will continue, Orban said, adding that the main question was how it could be stopped on the Croatian border.

"This is the big question of the next few days and weeks, I am trying to seek supporters for this," Orban told a news conference after meeting Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

He said Hungary would make a decision about sealing off its border with Croatia only after consultations to gather support for the move.

He said Croatia's proposal to create a "corridor" for migrants toward Austria was against relevant EU regulations, but it could have still been considered, if Austria and Germany supported it. But Orban said Faymann made it clear during their talks that he did not support this corridor proposal.

"The way I see it now is that, even if not whole-heartedly, Austria acknowledges that Hungary, if it wants to uphold international agreements, should implement actual border controls along the Croatian-Hungarian border," Orban said.

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At Zakany, a Hungarian border village, a train car with one end covered in razor wire coils was parked at the train station on Thursday. A similar carriage was used to plug the rail border crossing at Roszke on the Serbian border last week.

Orban said Hungary will stick to the Schengen rules.

"If we cannot uphold this, that will spell trouble for ourselves, for Austria and Germany, therefore, we must uphold it," he said.

(Writing by Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Kevin Liffey)