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Refugee crisis: Hungary completes fence with Croatia border to stem daily influx of migrants

The border will be completely sealed before Croatia’s parliamentary election on November 8

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Refugees arrive at the Hungarian border fence  Photo: AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File

The Hungarian government has announced it has completed its construction of a fence alongside its southern border with Croatia, to stem the massive daily influx of migrants.

“We are ready to close the border. The security closure has been completed on the Hungary-Croatia border, the government is now able with the help of the police and army to seal the border,” Janos Lazar, government spokesman, told reporters in Budapest.

The government would decide on a date to completely seal the border in the coming days, he said, adding that the closure could happen before Croatia’s parliamentary election on November 8.

The new barrier has raised tensions between Budapest and Zagreb, which said the fence was not a solution to the crisis.

Mr Lazar’s announcement came as Viktor Orban, Hungarian prime minister, was expected to attend an EU summit in Brussels as European leaders grapple with the continent’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.

EU member state Hungary has been one of the major transit countries for tens of thousands of migrants and refugees travelling up through the western Balkans in their quest to reach countries further north such as Germany.

Refugees board a train after crossing the boarder near the village of Zakany in Hungary to continue their trip to GemanyRefugees board a train after crossing the boarder near the village of Zakany in Hungary to continue their trip to Gemany  Photo: AFP/File

More than 386,000 migrants have crossed into the country so far in 2015, with the number likely to exceed 700,000 by the end of the year, according to Hungarian authorities.

The vast majority continue their journey on to Germany and Scandinavian countries.

Hungary started building its fence near the Beremend crossing point with Croatia in mid-September, just days after it sealed its border with Serbia, cutting off the main entry point into the EU via the Balkans route.

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This diverted the flow of people desperately fleeing war and poverty – mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – into Croatia.

But Zagreb has since been transporting them to the Hungarian border, and Hungary takes them to the Austrian frontier.

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This entry was posted on October 17, 2015 by and tagged , , , .

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