World View: Europe’s Migrant Crisis Worsens as Hungary Defends ‘Christian Culture’

EU asylum policy
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

This morning’s key headlines from

  • With Hungary blocked to migrants, Croatia becomes overwhelmed
  • Hungary’s Viktor Orbán defends Europe’s ‘Christian culture’

With Hungary blocked to migrants, Croatia becomes overwhelmed

With the route through Hungary blocked, migrants and refugees have turned west, overwhelming Croatia
With the route through Hungary blocked, migrants and refugees have turned west, overwhelming Croatia

The refugee drama in Europe is riveting the world.

On Wednesday, Hungary’s police finally closed the remaining gaps in the fence on the border with Serbia, but not before a violent confrontation with hundreds of migrants trying to enter Hungary.

The migrants chanted “Open the door! Open the door!” and started throwing projectiles at the Hungarian police. Some tried to break through the fence or climb over it. The police responded with tear gas, water cannon, pepper spray and batons. Some refugees shouted “F— you, Hungary!”

Eventually the migrants broke through the fence in one place, and about 200 migrants crossed through. Abruptly, the Hungarian riot police charged into the crowd, which included women and children. The migrants tried to flee, but they could not get back through the fence quickly enough. Many were struck by police batons.

By morning, calm had been restored, and the Serbian police decided to take control, and told the refugees that the border to Croatia was open, and that Serbia was providing buses to take them towards to Croatian border.

According to the Croatian government, 8,000 migrants had poured across the border into Croatia in one day, on Thursday, after the border through Hungary had been closed. They hope to travel through Croatia, then then through Slovenia, then through Austria, and then to Germany.

By the end of the day, Croatia’s Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic announced:

Croatia will not be able to receive more people. […]

Don’t come here anymore. Stay in refugee centers in Serbia and Macedonia and Greece. This is not the road to Europe. Buses can’t take you there. It’s a lie.

Slovenia doubled down on Ostojic’s remarks, saying that any migrants arriving in Slovenia from Croatia would simply be sent back to Croatia.

The routes through Hungary and Croatia are just a small part of migrant situation in Europe.

For many migrants who have already passed through Hungary, Germany was the final destination. Police said the number of refugees arriving in Germany more than doubled on Wednesday to 7,266.

At the other end of the route, there are hundreds of migrants every day crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, arriving in Greece, ready to make the long trip through Greece, through Macedonia, through Serbia and then — and then where? Hungary has closed the border and Croatia is apparently going to do the same.

The only “good news” is that winter is approaching, and the volume of migrants will be slowed substantially until the spring. Sydney Morning Herald and Reuters

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán defends Europe’s ‘Christian culture’

Two children sit on the tracks as hundreds of migrants wait for the train in Tovarnik, Croatia, just across the border from Serbia (Getty)
Two children sit on the tracks as hundreds of migrants wait for the train in Tovarnik, Croatia, just across the border from Serbia (Getty)

The European Union’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, declared Thursday that walls and violence are no solution and urged Hungary to work with the 28-nation bloc to alleviate the continent’s migration crisis:

The majority of people arriving in Europe are Syrians. They are people in genuine need of our protection. There is no wall you would not climb, no sea you wouldn’t cross if you are fleeing violence and terror. I believe we have a moral duty (to) offer them protection.

However, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said:

I find it bizarre and shocking that certain esteemed international figures have stood on the side of people who for hours were throwing stones and pieces of cement at the Hungarian police. And I’d also like to make it very clear, no matter what criticism I receive, that we will never allow such aggressive people to enter Hungary. Not even for transit purposes.

In an interview, Hungary’s president was asked what he thought the migrants should do, now that the border fence was completed:

We do not know. There are two options, Croatia or Romania. That’s why we are expanding the fence now also along a part of the Romanian border. We will need to extend the fence on the Croatian border. The route ultimately is determined by the human smugglers.

Orbán insists that his main motivation is to put the human smugglers out of business:

It is big business. From the intelligence reports it is now clear how it works: In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the smugglers sent a veritable camps, where you can buy their services. Prices vary depending on the service you want to buy: by air, sea or by land. That’s why there are so many Pakistanis and Afghans among migrants.

Orbán was asked whether he fears a “clash of civilizations” in Europe:

We all have this moral obligation. Hungary is a European and Christian country, this is our culture, and we take our responsibility and our moral duty very seriously. However, the first obligation must be to stop the influx of migrants – because 10-15% die crossing the sea. […]

I prefer to call it a competition of cultures. It is obvious that Christians are going to lose this contest, if you leave a lot of Muslims in Europe. This has demographic grounds and is that Muslims can flow into unlimited numbers. We have just studied what happened in Western societies. Despite the best intentions of the local leadership, parallel societies [Christians and Muslims] have been established, the Muslim layers have not be integrated. You live next to each other.

Every country has a right to want something. We do not want that. It is a question of cultural habits. I’m not talking about God, and how we are as Christians to or Muslims. I’m talking about culture. It’s about lifestyle, freedom, sexual habits, equality between men and women, our Christian culture. In this respect the Muslim community is stronger than ours.”

AP and International Business Times and Die Welt (Berlin) (Translation)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Hungary, Viktor Orbán, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Ranko Ostojic, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Peter Szijjarto
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