Illegal Migrants Mass Near Hungarian Border, Crossing Attempts Surge

Migrants camp beside the border fence at the Serbian Kelebija border village near Subotica
ISTVAN HUSZTI/AFP via Getty Images

Hungarian authorities have seen a surge in attempted border crossings so far this year, with a recent attempt allegedly motivated by false information given to migrants in Serbia.

Hungary re-opened its border crossing at the town of Tompa on Friday, after roughly 500 migrants had gathered there and demanded to be let into the European Union, holding English-language signs claiming, “We are only refugees, not criminals.”

The action followed a surge in the number of migrants attempting to cross from Serbia, which is not part of the European Union, into Hungary, which is, over the course of this year, with French newspaper Le Figaro claiming that around 3,400 migrants made attempts on border in January — several hundred more than in January of 2019.

The recent demonstrations were organised on social media and ended when Serbian police picked up the migrants, who mostly come from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said he was outraged over the demonstrations, saying that they had been organised by people spreading fake news and false information that the Hungarian border had been opened to migrants.

“People should be happy that Serbia has taken them in and is taking care of them,” Vulin said.

While Vulin did not mention who had been behind spreading the false rumours that the border was open, pro-migrant activists and NGOs have been accused of similar tactics during the height of the migrant crisis in Greece.

For example, in 2016, activists distributed incorrect maps to migrants near the Greek village of Idomeni and led them across a river to get around a fence erected on the border with North Macedonia. The escapade led to the death of three migrants, one of whom was a pregnant woman.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has largely blamed increased illegal migrant activity on pro-migrant NGOs affiliated with left-wing Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.

“One would have to be blind not to see that migration in the Balkans is organized by the Soros Network. This is de facto migration consultancy,” Orban told Hungarian media following attempted border crossings last month.

“The Soros network is reaching the point where it wants to transform Europe into a mixed culture continent, possibly by eliminating nation-states. They will continue to push for this plan and will use all their tools,” Orban said in December.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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