Serbia Calls Hungary Initiative ‘New Berlin Wall’ as Migrant Crisis Divides EU

AP Photo/Francesco Pecoraro

Member states of the European Union are divided over how to respond to the worsening African migrant crisis on the eve of a summit to solve the problem. Recently, Hungary announced plans to build a 100 mile-long wall across their border with Serbia in order to stem the invasion. Serbian leaders harshly condemned the border fence. Their foreign minister went so far as to call it the “new Berlin Wall.”

Some EU states argue that these increased border security measures violate EU laws related to asylum-seekers. Austria has warned that if the Hungarians do not back down, they will reinstate checks at their shared border.

“Hungary’s decision is completely unacceptable to us. We do not rule out border controls as a last resort,” Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said.

Border controls would make transit and trade between the two nations more difficult, and the Hungarian economy would likely take a hit as a result.

Under EU law, asylum seekers can be sent back to member states they entered through. Hungary is refusing to accept any more migrants sent by the EU, which is angering some across the union.

Over 60,000 illegal aliens have invaded Hungary in 2015 alone, and Hungarian immigration officials say that they are overwhelmed.

Last year, Hungary received about 43,000 migrants, which is more per capita than any other EU state except Sweden.

“Hungary is taking a share in the management of the situation caused by illegal migration beyond its means. The Hungarian authorities are working on the enlargement of necessary capacity, but this takes time,” a statement from the government said.

Prominent EU officials have called for harsh action in response to Hungary’s anti-illegal immigration measures. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told the European Parliament that he wanted to seek legal action against Budapest immediately. The Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, called Hungarian President Viktor Orban a “dictator.”

Hungary is not the only country taking steps to limit illegal migration.

Great Britain has stepped up security around the English Channel and the tunnel system which connects the country with the French port of Calais. More security agents, sniffer dogs, and increased screening checks on vehicles bound for Britain have all been implemented.

“The effective and efficient working of the UK’s border and immigration functions continues to be of great interest to those responsible for delivering those functions, to Parliament, and to the public, not least because we are all touched by them,” British Chief Inspector of Borders David Bolt said.

French and British authorities are currently negotiating in regards to the increased border security, which many in France are unhappy with.