Hungary won’t open ‘corridors’ for refugees on its southern borders

Migrants rest after crossing the border from Croatia in Rigonce, Slovenia October 21, 2015. © Sasa Kavic
Hungary is not going to open any corridors for asylum seekers trying to enter the Schengen zone from the south, the Hungarian government said amid an escalating refugee crisis in neighboring countries.

“Hungary has made it abundantly clear...that it does not support any proposal to open corridors on the border sections closed in the south or to provide means of transport for migrants within the Schengen zone,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told a news conference after a meeting of Croatian, Slovenian, Austrian, and Hungarian police chiefs in Vienna, Reuters reports.

The statement from Hungary comes as the refugee crisis is worsening in neighboring Slovenia. Earlier on Wednesday the Slovenian parliament adopted a law allowing its army to help secure the nation’s borders.

Slovenia has been facing an intense influx of asylum seekers since Hungary closed its borders with Serbia and Croatia, thus making Slovenia one of the main transit countries for refugees attempting to reach Germany and other richer European countries. Slovenia itself has already cut off rail traffic with Croatia, leaving only two border crossings – at Gruskovje and Petisovci – open.

Slovenia, with a population of just two million, has already received over 20,000 migrants since Saturday. The Slovenian government has plans to ask the EU for help in dealing with financial and security concerns.

Hungary, a Schengen member, closed its borders with non-EU Serbia in mid-September and with non-Schengen Croatia last week. It also decided to introduce controls on its border with Slovenia, which is a Schengen zone member.

“The border closure works well and border-crossing by illegal migrants has effectively ceased,” Zoltan Kovacs said in a statement on Monday.

“The measures implemented on the Hungarian-Serbian and Hungarian-Croatian borders since demonstrate beyond doubt that it is possible to take action against illegal immigrants effectively and successful,” he added.

Europe is facing its greatest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. According to UN data, 591,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Europe this year, 450,000 of them in Greece. EU leaders have agreed on a plan to distribute 160,000 of those refugees between the union’s members. However, the move is opposed by several eastern EU-members, including Hungary.