Hungary Wants a Big Fence to Keep These People Out

It's looking to build 109-mile fence to keep out migrants coming from Serbia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2015 11:39 AM CDT
Hungary Wants a Big Fence to Keep These People Out
In this photo taken Feb. 17, 2015, Afghan migrants trek their way to the Serbian border with Hungary close to Hajdukovo, north of Belgrade, Serbia.   (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

A 13-foot-high fence that stretches 109 miles along its border with Serbia is Hungary's plan for keeping in check what the Washington Post calls an "unprecedented migrant crisis." "Hungary cannot afford to wait any longer," the country's foreign affairs minister said at a press conference Wednesday, per Reuters, which notes that Hungary is a visa-free zone that lures "tens of thousands" of migrants from the Middle East and Africa who access the EU via the Serbia-Hungary route. Just this year alone, more than 53,000 migrants have asked for Hungarian asylum, with more than 70% of those seeking asylum over the past three months coming from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the AP notes.

Not everyone is thrilled with this plan. Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said on state TV yesterday that he was "shocked and surprised" by the idea, the Post reports. "We don't want to live in an Auschwitz," he said. And, in what the paper notes seems to be a reference to the Berlin Wall, a European Commission spokeswoman said yesterday, "We have only recently taken down walls in Europe. We should not be putting them up." But the Hungarian prime minister points out there are already similar fences along Turkey's borders with Greece and Bulgaria, both EU member states, the AP reports—though it's a protection that some don't think works. A rep from the Belgrade Center for Human Rights, for one, doesn't think the Hungary-Serbia fence will do much good. "No wall has ever stopped migrations. They are unstoppable," he tells the AP. (Read more Hungary stories.)

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