Budapest, October 16 (MTI) – Hungary will seal its “green” border with Croatia effective midnight on Friday, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after a meeting of the national security cabinet.
Additionally two transit zones will be set up along the border at Beremend and Letenye, he said.
The minister said the government expects the move to close down the border with Croatia would produce similar results to the sealing of the Serbian border.
Szijjarto said official border stations will continue to operate, albeit with increased security. He said the Croatian ambassador and the foreign ministers of neighbouring countries, as well as government officials in Bavaria and the German foreign ministry, have been informed of the government’s decision.
The minister said that the foreign ministers of the other Visegrad Group countries (Czech Rep, Poland and Slovakia) had assured Hungary of their support, and the Austrian foreign minister also thanked him for Hungary’s briefing on the move. Slovenia, he added, is also considering “necessary steps”, according information at hand.
Szijjarto said that Thursday’s meeting of the European Council had not produced a decision which would lead to joint protection of the bloc’s external borders, which would have been the preferable option. “If the EU really does want to find a common response to the migration pressure then a joint European force would be needed” to protect Greece’s external borders, he said.
He noted that it had become clear at the meeting in Brussels that EU Schengen member states are still required to protect the Schengen border, but Greece was failing to live up to its obligations.
If it turns out that the EU decides to protect Greece’s border properly then the “second best option” of protecting the Croatian border will not be necessary, he added.
Commenting on a meeting between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the minister said that Orban had made it clear that if the best option of protecting the Greek border was not implemented then the “second best” would have to be.
Asked about whether Hungary planned a similar border fence in the case of Slovenia, he said Slovenia is a member of the Schengen zone and, as such, any such barrier would have to be agreed on between the two countries. Currently this possibility is not on the agenda, he added.
Szijjarto said that the Hungarian authorities were closely watching the situation on the Hungarian-Romanian border, but so far there was no reason to start building a fence on that border.