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|
|Controlled by|| Hungary
In cooperation with:
|Built by||Hungarian Defence Force|
|Events||European migrant crisis|
The Hungarian temporary border barrier is a temporary border barrier that has been 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 rapidly 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 the BBC, "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 announced construction of a barrier 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 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."
On 16 October, 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 onward, thousands of migrants daily were diverted to Slovenia instead.
In mid-September, Hungary was considering a barrier on part of Romanian border in case of shift of migrant flow through this area.
As of March 2016, everything's ready if Hungary should build a border barrier on the Hungarian-Romanian border as well - the military is "only waiting for the command from the government".
Impact on the number of illegal migrants entering Hungary
Attempted border entries have fallen tremendously. From the 138,396 total for the month of September, the average daily number of intercepted migrants for the first two weeks of November was down to just 15. A daily reduction of more than 4500.
|Number of illegal migrants entering Hungary since 2015||Monthly breakdown|
|Source: Police.hu - Border information|
According to a correspondence published in Nature journal, the temporary border barrier has the potential to harm wildlife by entangling animals in razor wire or by blocking animal migration thus 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.
- John D. C. Linnell. Border controls: Refugee fences fragment wildlife. Nature 13 January 2016.
- Media related to Hungary-Serbia border barrier at Wikimedia Commons