Hungarian border barrier
|Hungarian border barrier|
The border barrier at the Serbo-Hungarian border
Border barrier in operation or natural barrier: river (Serbian and Croatian border)
Planned border barrier (Romanian border)
|Height||4 metres (13 ft)|
|Length||523 kilometres (325 mi)|
|Operator||Hungarian Defence Force|
In cooperation with the Visegrád Four:
|Built by||Hungarian Defence Force|
|Events||European migrant crisis|
The Hungarian border barrier is a border barrier that was built by Hungary in 2015 on its border with Serbia and Croatia. The fence was constructed during the European migrant crisis (see timeline), with the aim to ensure border security by preventing immigrants from entering illegally, and enabling the option to enter through official checkpoints and claim asylum in Hungary in accordance with international and European law. The number of illegal entries to Hungary declined greatly after the barrier was finished.
Following an increased influx of migrants into the Schengen Area despite the Dublin Regulation, Hungary stated that the EU was "too slow to act", and started construction of the barrier in June 2015. According to BBC News, "many of the migrants currently in Hungary have been refusing to register there, in order to continue their journeys to Germany before seeking asylum", thus refusing to comply with European law. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán commented: "Our job is only to register them". The barrier was completed in September. Later, Hungary constructed barriers on minor sections of the Croatian border that are not separated by the Drava river.
The border between Hungary and Serbia is 175 kilometres (109 mi) long. In June 2015 the Hungarian cabinet approved construction of a 4 metres (13 ft) high barrier. Construction of the barrier began in early July. As of early August, Hungary was on track to complete the fence by the end of the year. The fence, which features concertina wire, is being built by contractors and a deployment of 900 soldiers at a cost of 30 billion forints ($106 million) for the 4-meter (13-foot) fence and the construction of two camps to house asylum applicants.
By mid-August the barrier was taking shape as a double security fence. There is a hastily constructed outer fence made up of three rows of razor wire, scheduled to be complete by the end of August 2015. Inside that, there is a sturdier barrier 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) tall. The slow pace of the fence's construction led to the resignation of Csaba Hende, the Hungarian defence minister, on 7 September 2015. The first stage of construction was started on July 13 and it was completed and the border sealed by Monday, 14 September.
The immediate impact of the fence was to block entry to Hungary to migrants unwilling to apply for refugee status in Hungary, deflecting the flow to Croatia. As Croatia led the migrants to its border with Hungary, Hungary then started the construction of a second fence along its border with Croatia on 18 September 2015.
On September 16, migrants prevented by the new fence by crossing the border near Horgoš, Serbia, and Röszke, Hungary, reacted by surging forward and pushing or tearing away a section of the new fence. Hungarian riot police responded with tear gas, causing the migrants to fall back, then regroup and surge forward again, only to be met by another round of tear gas canisters and with water cannon. At this point some of the migrants began tearing apart a decayed structure, to obtain chunks of concrete which, along with rocks were hurled at police as other rioters built debris fires, filling the air with smoke. The riot subsided as word spread the Hungarian police had opened a nearby gate, but as 200 or 300 migrants walked through the newly opened gate, Hungarian police "surged forward", swinging batons and firing tear gas into the crowd of migrants.
Hungary was widely criticized for its use of tear gas and water cannon against migrants attempting to enter the country. Hungary commented the border security: "the official and legal ways to come to Hungary and therefore to the European Union remain open. That's all we ask from all migrants - that they should comply with international and European law".
In April 2016, Hungarian government announced construction of reinforcements of the barrier, which it described as "temporary". In July 2016, nearly 1,300 migrants were "stuck" on the Serbian side of the border. In August 2016, Orbán announced that Hungary will build another larger barrier on its southern border.
On 16 October 2015, Hungary, dissatisfied with EU efforts to coordinate border control, announced that it had completed the fence along the 348 km (216 mi) border with Croatia and would close the border at midnight. Since 17 October onwards, thousands of migrants daily were diverted to Slovenia instead.
Impact on the number of illegal migrants entering Hungary
Attempted border entries have fallen tremendously since the barrier was constructed. During the month of September 2015 there was a total number of 138,396 migrant entries, and by the first two weeks of November the average daily number of intercepted migrants decreased to only 15, which is a daily reduction of more than 4,500.
|Number of illegal migrants entering Hungary since 2015|
|Source: Police.hu - Border information|
According to a correspondence published in Nature journal, the border barrier can entangle animals in razor wire and endangers wildlife by blocking animal migration, jeopardizing connectivity of species populations by habitat fragmentation.
- Austrian border barrier
- Bulgarian border barrier
- Greek border barrier
- Macedonian border barrier
- Slovenian border barrier
- Croatia–Hungary relations
- Hungary–Serbia relations
- Removal of Hungary's border fence with Austria
- Russia–Ukraine barrier
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- A szlovén határnál is készül drótakadály Híradó, September 24, 2015 (in Hungarian)
- Tekercsekben áll a lebontott drótakadály a magyar-szlovén határon Blikk, September 26, 2015 (in Hungarian)
- Hungary preparing to extend border fence towards Romania. Reuters.com. Sep 15, 2015.
- It is possible every time that Hungary starts to build the fence on the Romanian border. nol.hu, 05 March, 2016.
- "Elfogott migránsok száma - dátum szerinti lekérdezés". A Magyar Rendőrség hivatalos honlapja (in Hungarian).
- John D. C. Linnell. Border controls: Refugee fences fragment wildlife. Nature 13 January 2016.
- Media related to Hungary-Serbia border barrier at Wikimedia Commons