Hungarian Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér announced in Budapest on Wednesday that Hungary is officially in a “state of emergency” because of the migrant crisis and has called up thousands of troops to the border with Romania.
Announcing the deployment of troops, the minister said: “we don’t know exactly what reactions those refugees and illegal migrants will have, [those] who are already inside the neighbouring countries. Therefore the government has decided that to prepare for this situation Hungary will strengthen protection of its borders, and we declare a crisis situation due to migration for the entire country.”
New fears of migrants passing through both Romania and Bulgaria to get to Hungary triggered the move, with the unpredictability of the migrant crisis and the migrant flow being a huge cause for concern for the Hungarian government, reports Kronen Zeitung.
The Hungarians are also worried about the growing number of migrants who are stuck in Greece along the border with Macedonia and Bulgaria. There are concerns the tens of thousands now stuck along the Balkans may attempt to force their way through borders, as has been observed in Greece.
Some border regions of Hungary have already been in a state of crisis, but this is the first time the whole country has been placed on an emergency footing. The move has not gone without criticism in Hungary, with opponents of Prime Minister Viktor Orban saying that such a move in not necessary given the flow of migrants has dwindled since border controls were introduced last year.
The Interior Minister replied to the criticism, remarking: “At the moment we are not seeing illegal migrants arriving from the direction of Romania. However, we are getting prepared for the possibility of this occurring so that we can built a closure of the fence as fast as possible.” Breitbart has reported that while crossings fell substantially since the fence was completed last year there is a resurgent trend of illegal incursions.
Also causing concern are events in Greece, where “No Borders” activists have attempted to arm migrants with bolt cutters and other tools to physically dismantle the border fences along the Macedonian border. Hungary has serious worries that growing numbers and the actions of groups like No Borders could have a domino effect that many smaller countries along the Balkan route may not be able to handle.
The Bulgarian government in Sofia is also concerned about the build-up of migrants in Greece, fearing migrants may try to push through their country to find an alternate way to Europe. The Bulgarian Interior minister vowed to make sure it does not happen remarking on state television: “we have recognized this risk and will take any action against it”.