Hungary makes headlines worldwide with fence plan

History

With the planned erection of a 175 km-long and four-meter-high fence on the Serbian border to keep immigrants out of the country, Hungary has made headlines in the international press with wide coverage, receiving criticism for its measure in most reports.

"The European Union was supposed to be about breaking down borders and barriers. But critics say that message appears to have been lost on Hungary, which drew international condemnation this week for its government’s plans to erect a fence along the Serbian border to keep out migrants." – New York Times said yesterday in its article entitled “Hungary’s Plan to Build Fence to Deter Migrants Is Criticized”.

Natasha Bertaud, a spokesperson for the European Commission, cited in the piece, said that “we have only just torn down walls in Europe; we should not be putting them up.” According to the spokesperson, although EU member countries have the right to secure their borders, these security measures cannot violate international law by, for instance, turning away migrants who are entitled to protection.

New York Times notes, that Cecilia Wikström, a liberal member from Sweden, wrote on Twitter that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is transforming Hungary into a “mini-Russia.”

The Hungarian government has recently been on an anti-immigrant rhetoric, and launched a national consultation on immigrants, what many claim confuses refugees with immigrants, and portrays immigrants as terrorists. Billboards, which were installed around Hungary earlier this month, carry messages in Hungarian such as "If you come to Hungary you cannot take the jobs of Hungarians," allegedly aimed at immigrants.

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