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Mar 03, 2017

Hungary extends national state of emergency in response to growing migrant crisis

Hungary's state of emergency will run until September 7. The reason to keep it in place is that 800,000 people stuck in the Balkans are unable to return to Turkey

The Hungarian government has announced that it will extend its national state of emergency for another six months in response to the dangers presented by mass migration.

According to János Lázár, the minister heading the prime minister’s office, the state of emergency will be maintained until September 7. The reason to keep it in place is that 800,000 people stuck in the Balkans are unable to return to Turkey, he added.

The measure also includes restoring the ability to limit the freedom of movement of migrants as well as strengthening the border with a second fence to be completed by May 1 along the 150 kilometers of border between Hungary and Serbia, Lázár said.

Lázár noted that the Hungarian government had set aside 38 billion HUF (123 million EUR) for the purpose last week, bringing the total cost of the fence along the southern border to 284 billion HUF.

Noting a regulation passed by the European Commission February 16 requiring blanket checks at EU external borders, EU citizens included, Lázár said waiting times were bound to increase but the government would uphold the new rule to the point that “no disproportionate harm comes to society”.