Wednesday

23rd Oct 2019

Hungary to seal border with Croatia

Hungary will close its borders with Croatia by midnight on Friday (16 October) to stem the flow of migrants and refugees, while Croatia is planning to send them onwards to Slovenia.

Announcing the decision after the national security cabinet meeting in Budapest, foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said the EU leaders’ meeting on Thursday in Brussels failed to decide on a joint force protecting Greece’s borders, while Hungary is expected to uphold EU rules and protect the external borders of the visa-free Schengen travel zone.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He added that Hungary had informed Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany about the move.

It will still be possible for travellers and businesses to cross into Croatia at official border stations.

People will be able to submit asylum requests at two transit zones to be set up on the border with Croatia, as is the case at Hungary’s border with Serbia, which Budapest sealed in September.

The European Commission has expressed concern about the procedures at Hungary's border with Serbia, saying it appears to fast-track people seeking refuge back to Serbia with a ban on entering the EU for a year, while not providing adequate opportunities for appeal.

Over 383,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Hungary so far this year fleeing war and persecution, the vast majority of whom have moved onto Austria and Germany. Thursday saw almost 5,000 people crossing into Hungary, nearly all from Croatia.

Croatia has been transporting migrants and refugees to Hungary, as people coming from Greece via the Balkan countries took a detour after Hungary closed its border with Serbia.

Arriving at the EU summit on Thursday, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that if the EU does not protect Greece’s external borders, he will have to seal the borders with Croatia.

“We can close the border in an hour, but it’s only the second-best solution, the best would be closing the Greek border, this is what we would like to achieve this afternoon,” he said.

“There is no force or political will to take over the border protection from Greece,” he concluded as he left the summit.

“All the conditions are in place,” he said, adding, “we are protecting Europe’s borders.”

Asked after the summit how would he describe Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanovic’s reaction to the measure, Orban said: “Disagreement.”

Croatia, meanwhile, is planning to send the migrants and refugees towards Slovenia.

Reuters cited an unnamed government official who said that Milanovic is in contact with his Slovenian counterpart, Miro Cerar.

“The Croatian government already has a plan agreed with Slovenia. In case Hungary shuts the border, Croatia will start implementing that plan in coordination with Slovenia," the spokesman said.

Croatia-Serbia border tensions escalate

Serbia has banned imports from Croatia after Croatia closed its border to Serbian cargo traffic, in escalating tension over the migrant influx.

Croatia puts migrants on buses to Hungary

Croatia started ferrying refugees to Hungary by bus on Friday, saying it can't cope any more, while also suspending EU rules on registration of newcomers.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs criticise Juncker over climate and tax policies
  2. Juncker defends commission record on Greek crisis
  3. Croatian MEP criticises EU parliament for trusting Šuica
  4. Brexit is waste of time and energy, says Juncker
  5. Abortion and same-sex marriage become legal in Northern Ireland
  6. Germany wants internationally controlled zone in Syria
  7. EU parliament refuses to debate Catalonia
  8. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder

Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. EU open to imminent Brexit extension, Tusk indicates
  2. EU centrists ally with far right on migrant rescues
  3. MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal
  4. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  5. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  6. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  7. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  8. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us