Over 1,000 people have been arrested at the border of Hungary and Serbia and according to the Hungarian government the numbers of migrants attempting to cross illegally continues to grow.
In spite of the controversial border fence – erected by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in defiance of the policies of open borders and Angela Merkel’s blanket welcome all migrants – the number of migrants trying to climb the fence is steadily increasing according to Hungary Today.
The numbers given only represents those who have been caught, and who have received sentences from Hungarian courts since September of last year. The number of those managing to enter, and/or those who tried and turned back, could be much higher.
The Hungarian/Serbian border was the main route for migrants early in 2015 and especially over the summer. In September, Mr. Orban announced he would build a fence to seal off the porous border in which thousands upon thousands were crossing every day to get through Hungary to Austria and finally to Germany or Sweden.
The rise in attempts to enter the central European nation comes as more and more countries are emulating Mr. Orban’s policies, closing down various routes into the beleaguered Schengen free movement area which has seen 1.5 million migrants in the past year.
When the fence was erected in September, only around 10-20 people attempted to climb or damage the structure. In the past three weeks however, there are estimates of up to 70 people per week attempting entry and going to court after being caught.
The mayor of Horgos, a Serbian town on the border, told Pannon RTV that sightings of migrants in groups of around 60-70 people were becoming more common. He said that the groups of migrants were scouting for gaps in the defences of the barrier between the two countries and also looking to try and cross the Tisza river which separates Serbia from the European Union.
Borders across Europe have been either tightened or entirely shut down in recent weeks. Macedonia recently announced a total shut down of their shared border with Greece, effectively burdening the south eastern European country with potentially millions of migrants who cross from Turkey into Greece and by extension the European Union.
While the closing of the border has historically been an effective measure for Hungary to slow down the path of migrants trekking through, if the numbers continue to increase, the border will likely leak more and officials stationed along it will be overwhelmed like the scenes in Calais when migrants, egged on by anarchists, stormed through police and onto ferries bound for Britain.