In the latest step seeking to halt the seemingly endless stream of migrants attempting to gain entry into Hungary from Serbia, Hungarian authorities have declared a state of emergency.
Hungarian statutes grant wider latitude for police to combat migrants endeavoring to enter the country illegally and, if necessary, will allow the use of the Hungarian military.
By midday on Monday, Hungarian border police were confronted with hundreds of migrants on the Serbian-Hungarian frontier. Those denied passage through Hungary to other European destinations staged protests and an additional 60 were arrested as they attempted to contravene barbed wire fencing on the border between Hungary and Serbia.
Police buses will now take asylum applicants to registration centers, but if their applications are refused they will now be returned to Serbia rather than being given passage through Hungary, the BBC’s Nick Thorpe reported from the border.
On Tuesday, Hungarian officials announced migrants who attempted to enter Hungary illegally will face criminal charges.
Budapest has created a special tribunal manned by 30 judges to adjudicate cases of illegal entry.
Zoltan Kovacs, spokesman for the Hungarian government, stated:
“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.”
BBC reported Hungarian police fired tear gas into the crowds gathered at the border checkpoint at Horgos, Serbia on Wednesday.
Overwhelmed by the throngs of migrants fleeing poverty and civil strife, particularly in war-torn Syria, The European Union (EU) is attempting to find a solution to the 500,000 refugees who have escaped strife in the Middle East this year, most of whom have journeyed to Europe by boat on the Mediterranean Sea.
The EU did present a preliminary plan on Tuesday which will re-settle over 40,000 refugees currently in Greece and Italy to several EU member states; however, an additional 120,000 asylum seekers await placement while the European Commission determined mandatory quotas for member states.
An EU meeting in Brussels on Monday produced little: The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia all rejected mandatory minimum quotas set by the EU. In turn, German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere suggested there would be alternatives to “exert pressure” on EU member states to accept binding quotas, such as decreasing EU funding.
This is sure to get worse.
Had the West not abdicated its responsibilities, acted earlier and more assertively in the Middle East, perhaps the fiasco of migrants seeking refuge would not have been as serious. European countries are now witnessing the baleful effects of Western inertia.
[BBC] [Photo courtesy WSJ.com]