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Sep 06, 2016

Hungary will help Serbia protect borders against migrant surge

PM Orbán described an agreement between the European Union and Turkey on stopping mass migration as "fragile"

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has vowed to protect Hungary's borders, which is an external border of Europe's Schengen Area, against a possible migrant surge and has also offered to assist Serbia's policing efforts.

The prime minister described an agreement between the European Union and Turkey on stopping mass migration as "fragile." He said it is in Hungary's interest to help prevent a pileup of migrants in Serbia as well, AP reports today.

"It cannot be ruled out at all that we will face challenges similar to those last year on this route," PM Orban warned.

The prime minister was, of course, referring to the massive influx of more than one million refugees into Europe in 2015, many of whom used the Balkan route to enter the EU through Hungary. Since the Balkan nations closed down their borders in March the migrant numbers have decreased, but countries fear it could pick up pace once worsening weather averts the migrants from using the more dangerous Mediterranean Sea route.

PM Orbán recently announced plans to build a tougher razor-wire to fortify the borders as part of Hungary's anti-immigration policies.

"We want to defend the results we achieved in the past years with hard work in Hungary, which is why we cannot accept or allow ... illegal entry into Hungarian territory," PM Orban said. "We will prevent this with every resource."

Serbia too has strengthened its border patrols with Macedonia and Bulgaria where migrants mostly enter the country after thousands got stranded unable to move on to any of the EU countries.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Monday there are currently about 5,000 migrants in Serbia. Vucic said that most of them are so-called economic migrants, rather than refugees from Syria or other war-thorn countries.

"We have to prepare for the fall and winter," PM Vucic said. "We need to see what we are going to do."