BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's prime minister lambasted his Croatian counterpart Friday, accusing him of being the envoy of a global left-wing organization with the job of attacking Hungary — some the strongest statements yet in neighborhood disputes caused by the migrant crisis.
Meanwhile, officials in the Czech Republic said they were willing to send more than 100 police and soldiers to help Hungary defend its European Union borders, which could include the border with Croatia. That could create the awkward situation of EU members guarding the borders of a fellow member country with troops.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the parties in the Socialist International, which includes Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic's Social Democratic Party, support migration, think the wave of migrants reaching Europe is a "good thing" and their leaders "are following the orders not so much of their people as of the Socialist International."
Orban said on state radio that "we don't consider what the Croatian prime minister says to be the opinion of the Croatian people."
"When they hear the Croatian prime minister, I ask Hungarians not to hear a Croatian man but an envoy of the Socialist International who is supposed to attack Hungary," Orban continued, adding that he had refrained from criticizing Milanovic until now in the interest of the long-term relationship between their countries.
Politicians from the two countries have been trading barbs since Hungary's decision on Sept. 15 to close its border with Serbia with a high fence protected by razor wire, police and soldiers.
Hungary's foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, last month called Milanovic's handling of the migrant crisis "pathetic," while Milanovic said Hungary's border fences were a disgrace.
Thousands of migrants a day are streaming into Hungary from Croatia, through which they were forced to detour because of the fence. They are searching for clear paths toward Germany and other destinations in the European Union.
Hungarian officials say they are close to completing a fence on the Croatian border as well.
Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said Friday the matter of Czech help with border control in Hungary would be discussed Oct. 8 at a meeting with his counterparts from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
All four countries in the so-called Visegrad Group, or V4, are in the EU's Schengen zone of passport-free travel.
Chovanec said the soldiers could be deployed within two weeks, while the Polish interior ministry said a helicopter and crew from the Polish Border Guard could be sent to help Hungary.
EU member Croatia is not a Schengen country while Serbia is a candidate for EU membership.
Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.