Hungary's Orban says barrier on border with Serbia possible

AP News
Posted: Jun 12, 2015 10:06 AM

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian government will consider "all options," including a physical barrier on the southern border with Serbia, to stem the increased flow of migrants, the prime minister said Friday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that "migration is dangerous" and that the government will hear the interior minister's recommendations on the issue next week.

Hungary has received more than 50,000 asylum requests so far this year, compared to 43,000 in 2014 and 2,157 in 2012. About 70 percent of the refuges now are from Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq.

Orban said the governments of Hungary and Serbia would hold a joint session in early July, including discussions on migration.

"I don't consider it right that they send the refugees to us," Orban said on state radio. "We think they should be stopped within Serbia."

Orban said the European Union should fund facilities outside its borders where migrants wishing to come to Europe can stay until their cases are evaluated.

"The problem needs to be handled outside" the EU, Orban said.

Human rights groups have been critical of the government for its anti-immigration billboard campaign, as well as a provocative questionnaire on the issue sent out to voters. It links migration and terrorism and asks whether they agree with the government on supporting Hungarian families instead migrants.

"The billboards are part of a hate campaign trying to turn the popular mood against migrants and intimidate the tens of thousands of foreigners living in Hungary," said Gabor Gyulai, refugee program coordinator of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

Orban said Friday that the billboards with messages like — "If you come to Hungary, you cannot take away Hungarians' jobs" — were meant to deter human traffickers and economic migrants.