Only 41 asylum seekers enter as Hungary seals borders

Crops

Only 41 asylum seekers entered Hungary yesterday, and all of them came from the Serbian border, as the Croatia border fencing apparently prevented any asylum seekers from entering, officials said.

The fence on the Croatian border near Zákány. (Photo: MTI/György Varga)

Hungary closed its border with Croatia as of midnight Saturday morning in an effort to prevent refugees from passing through the country. Only last week, thousands of refugees were said to be coming into Hungary from Croatia, but the new fencing and border patrols appear to have effectively stopped them from going through this country on their way west.

Currently, as both the Serbian and Croatian borders are fenced off, the majority of refugees apparently have been bypassing Hungary on their way towards Austria, and go through Slovenia instead.

The “southern border closure is successful”, government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said yesterday at a press conference, almost two days after Hungary closed its Croatian border.

Although he said “illegal migrants have practically stopped”, Kovács added that “authorities are continuously observing happenings and are ready for possible changes”. That is why it was needed to temporarily reinstate border control on the Slovenian border, Kovács said.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced on Saturday that Hungary reinstated border control on the Slovenian border, and informed both the Slovenian government and the European Commission about the decision. As Slovenia is a Schengen border, no fence is planned there, but patrols were beefed up, officials said.

Outside Hungary

Slovenia is not able to accept “limitless numbers of migrants”, therefore Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia need to “slow down the influx”, Boštjan Šefic, Slovenian State secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said yesterday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

The state secretary said that Croatia had asked the country to accept 5,000 refugees on a daily basis, while Austria had signalled that it cannot accept more than 1,500 daily. “We cannot accept migrants in limitless numbers if we know that they are unable to continue their ways,” the state secretary said, adding that it will only accept the number of “migrants” who can leave their country.

While MTI reported that Slovenia is building a tranzit zone for “migrants” on the Austrian border, Hungarian state-owned all news channel M1 reported yesterday that the number of “migrants” keep growing at the Croatian-Slovenian border, as Slovenia only accepts as many refugees as Austria does on a daily basis.

As the majority of refugees keep crossing Slovenia and Austria in order to get to Germany, a fence should be built on the German-Austrian border to stem the flow of migrants, Rainer Wend, the chairman of the German Police Union (DPolG), told the “Welt am Sonntag” newspaper, according to dw.com. Wend said that other countries would then follow suit. “If we close our borders in this way, Austria will also close the border with Slovenia. Thatʼs exactly the effect we need,” Wendt said according to dw.com.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes the idea of a fence on the German border, and she has said many times that she believes border fences do not stop the flow of refugees, but only sidetrack them.

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