EU should erect new Greek frontier to stop migrants, Hungarian PM says

Refugees arrive at Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean from Turkey. [Jordi Bernabeu Farrús/Flickr]

The European Union should establish a new frontier on the northern border of Greece, because an agreement with Turkey will not be enough, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday (8 January).

Orbán has gained support in Hungary with his tough stance on migration. His government has put up fences on the country’s southern border to keep out migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Asia.

The barriers initially drew criticism from his European Union partners, but several countries, such as Slovenia and Austria, have since raised barriers of their own. Others have imposed checks within the EU’s border-free Schengen zone to cope with the flow.

>>Read: Greek minister: New EU border force should assume full control of refugees

Orbán said Germany, which welcomed a million migrants last year, has recently shifted towards “common sense” to slow arrivals. But Orbán said nothing short of stopping more people entering would resolve the issue.

“I think the next line of defence that we need to build up lies on the northern border of Greece,” Orbán told public radio in an interview.

>>Read: Turkey stops refugees en route to Greek islands

He said Bulgaria, one of Greece’s northern neighbours, should be adopted into the EU’s border-free Schengen zone, while Macedonia should be given financial support and other assistance so it could beef up its defences.

“I do not think that the deal with Turkey will be sufficient in itself,” Orbán said. Hungary erected fences on its southern borders to halt the flow of migrants.

In October, the EU offered Turkey a possible €3 billion in aid, the prospect of easier travel visas and renewed talks on Turkey’s joining the bloc, in return for its help stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

“It is nice that (Turkey) has promised that there would be a line of defence there, but we need to build one of our own from our own resources on the northern border of Greece and stop, not slow down, but stop migration,” Orbán said.

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