Hungarian border barrier

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Hungarian border barrier
Déli határzár
Hungary-Serbia border barrier.jpg
The border barrier at the Serbo-Hungarian border
HU-Southern Border Barrier.svg
  Border barrier in operation or natural barrier: river (Serbian and Croatian border)
  Planned border barrier (part of the Romanian border)
  Hungary—operator of the barrier
  EU and Schengen member states that assist in barrier operation [i.e. the "Visegrad Four"]
  Other EU and Schengen member states
  EU member states not yet implementing the Schengen Agreement
  Non-EU, Non-Schengen states
  Associated Schengen members
TypeBorder barrier
Height4 metres (13 ft)
Length523 kilometres (325 mi)
Site information
Owner Hungary
Operator Hungarian Defence Force
Controlled by Hungary
In cooperation with the Visegrád Four:[1]
 Czech Republic
Site history
Built2015 (2015)
Built by Hungarian Defence Force
MaterialsConcertina wire
EventsEuropean migrant crisis

In 2015, Hungary built a border barrier on its border with Serbia and Croatia. The fence was constructed during the European migrant crisis (see timeline), with the aim to ensure border security by preventing illegal immigrants from entering, and enabling the option to enter through official checkpoints and claim asylum in Hungary in accordance with international and European law.[2] The number of illegal entries to Hungary declined greatly after the barrier was finished as it effectively abolished the entry to Hungary.[3]

Following an increased influx of asylum-seekers and migrants into the Schengen Area despite the Dublin Regulation, Hungary stated that the EU was "too slow to act", and started construction of the barrier in June 2015.[4] According to BBC News, "many of the migrants currently in Hungary have been refusing to register there, in order to continue their journeys to Germany before seeking asylum".[5] Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán commented: "Our job is only to register them".[5] The barrier was completed in September.[6] Later, Hungary constructed barriers on minor sections of the Croatian border[7] that are not separated by the Drava river.

Serbian border[edit]

The border between Hungary and Serbia is 175 kilometres (109 mi) long.[8][9] In June 2015, the Hungarian cabinet approved construction of a 4 metres (13 ft) high barrier.[9] Construction of the barrier began in early July.[10] as of early August, Hungary was on track to complete the fence by the end of the year.[11] The fence, which features concertina wire, is being built by contractors and a deployment of 900 soldiers at a cost of 30 billion forints ($106 million) for the 4-meter (13-foot) fence and the construction of two camps to house asylum applicants.[11]

Border patrol

By mid-August the barrier was taking shape as a double security fence. There is a hastily constructed outer fence made up of three rows of razor wire, scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2015. Inside that, there is a sturdier barrier 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) tall.[12] The slow pace of the fence's construction led to the resignation of Csaba Hende, the Hungarian defence minister, on 7 September 2015.[13] The first stage of construction was started on 13 July and it was completed and the border sealed by Monday, 14 September.[14]

The immediate impact of the fence was to block entry to Hungary to migrants unwilling to apply for refugee status in Hungary, deflecting the flow to Croatia.[15] As Croatia led the migrants to its border with Hungary, Hungary then started the construction of a second fence along its border with Croatia on 18 September 2015.[16]

On 16 September 2015, migrants prevented by the new fence from crossing the border near Horgoš, Serbia, and Röszke, reacted by surging forward and pushing or tearing away a section of the new fence. Hungarian riot police responded with tear gas, causing the migrants to fall back, then regroup and surge forward again, only to be met by another round of tear gas canisters and with water cannon. At this point, some of the migrants began tearing apart a decayed structure, to obtain chunks of concrete which, along with rocks were hurled at police as other rioters built debris fires, filling the air with smoke. The riot subsided as word spread the Hungarian police had opened a nearby gate, but as 200 or 300 migrants walked through the newly opened gate, Hungarian police "surged forward", swinging batons and firing tear gas into the crowd of migrants.[17][18]

Hungary was widely criticized for its use of tear gas and water cannon against migrants attempting to enter the country.[19] Hungary commented the border security: "the official and legal ways to come to Hungary and therefore to the European Union remain open. That's all we ask from all migrants - that they should comply with international and European law".[20]

In April 2016, Hungarian government announced construction of reinforcements of the barrier, which it described as "temporary".[21] In July 2016, nearly 1,300 migrants were "stuck" on the Serbian side of the border.[22] In August 2016, Orbán announced that Hungary would build another larger barrier on its southern border.[3] On 28 April 2017, the Hungarian government announced it had completed a second fence, 155 kilometres (96 mi) long, on the Serbian border.[23][24]

Funding of the construction of the Hungary-Serbia border fence and border hunters project has increased tension between Hungary and the other EU member states. In 2015, Hungary and Slovakia asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to annul the EU decision to relocate migrants.[25] Although the opinions of the Court's Advocate Generals are not binding on the European Court of Justice, on 26 July 2017, the assigned Advocate General expressed the view that the Hungary and Slovakia claims should be dismissed.[26] About a month after the Advocate General released his opinion, Hungary asked the European Commission to pay up. On 31 August 2017, the Hungarian government requested that the European Union refund half of the border barrier costs (€400 million).[27] This request was denied by the President of the European Commission on 5 September 2017.[28] The Court of Justice of the European Union dismissed Hungary and Slovakia's claims in a judgment dated 6 September 2017.[29]

Croatian border[edit]

On 16 October 2015, Hungary, dissatisfied with EU efforts to coordinate border control, announced that it had completed the fence along the 348 kilometres (216 mi) border with Croatia and would close the border at midnight.[30][31] Since 17 October onwards, thousands of migrants daily were diverted to Slovenia instead.[32]

Slovene border[edit]

On 14 September 2015, Hungary began building a fence on its border with Slovenia, specifically in the area around the Tornyiszentmiklós-Pince border crossing.[33] The razor wire obstacle was removed two days later.[34]

Romanian border[edit]

In mid-September 2015, Hungary was considering a barrier on part of the Romanian border in case of a shift in the migrant flow through this area.[35]

As of March 2016, everything is in place if Hungary decides to build a border barrier on the Hungarian-Romanian border—the military is "only waiting for the command from the government".[36]

In October 2017, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán offered to "help Romania to protect its eastern borders" and added that if illegal migration over Romanian territory continues to grow, Hungary will be forced to build a fence on the common border.[37]

Impact on the number of illegal migrants entering Hungary[edit]

Attempted border entries fell following the barrier's construction. During the month of September 2015 there was a total number of 138,396 migrant entries, and within the first two weeks of November the average daily number of intercepted migrants decreased to only 15, which is a daily reduction of more than 4,500.[38]

Number of illegal migrants entering Hungary since 2015
Jan 2015
Jan 2016
Number of illegal migrants entering Hungary since 2015, monthly breakdown
Month Number of migrants

Source: - Border information(original URL)

Environmental impact[edit]

According to a correspondence published in Nature journal, the border barrier can entangle animals in razor wire and endangers wildlife by blocking animal migration, jeopardizing connectivity of species populations by habitat fragmentation[39] (such as the lesser mole-rat[40]).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official: V4 countries to contribute police for protection of southern border". Daily News Hungary. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  2. ^ Migrant crisis: Hungary's closed border leaves many stranded. BBC News. 15 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Hungary's PM plans 'more massive' fence to keep out migrants. 26 August 2016.
  4. ^ Nolan, Daniel (17 June 2015). "Hungary orders 100-mile Serbia border fence to keep out migrants". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b Migrant crisis 'a German problem' - Hungary's Orban. 3 September 2015.
  6. ^ Refugees 'exhausted' after Serbia-Hungary border closes. BBC News. 14 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Migrant crisis: Neighbours squabble after Croatia U-turn". BBC News. 19 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Hungary sends police to deter migrants on Serbia border". BBC. 18 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b Feher, Margit (17 June 2015). "Hungary Plans Security Fence on Serbia Border to Keep Out Migrants". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Hungary Begins Building Serbia Border Fence to Curb Migrants". Wall Street Journal. AP. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  11. ^ a b Feher, Marghit (5 August 2015). "Hungary Plans to Soon Complete Fence to Limit Migrants". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  12. ^ Feher, Marghrit (18 August 2015). "Hungary Deploys 'Border Hunters' to Keep Illegal Immigrants Out". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Hungary's defense minister resigns amid migrant chaos". Deutsche Welle. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  14. ^ Samuels, Robert (14 September 2015). "From west to east, Europe tightens borders as refugees scramble". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  15. ^ Mullen, Jethro (17 September 2015). "Migrant crisis: Thousands overwhelm Croatia". CNN. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  16. ^ "Hungary starts building fence on Croatian border". Deutsche Welle. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  17. ^ Lyman, Rick (16 September 2015). "Migrants Clash With Police in Hungary, as Others Enter Croatia". New York Times. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  18. ^ Radovanovic, Radul (17 September 2015). "Chaotic border scrums as Croatia becomes migrant hotspot". Seattle Times. AP. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  19. ^ Feher, Margit (16 September 2015). "Hungarian Police Fire Tear Gas at Migrants, as More Opt for Route via Croatia". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  20. ^ Migrant crisis: Hungary declares emergency at Serbia border. BBC News. 15 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Reinforcement of temporary border barrier starts on the Hungarian–Serbian border". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  22. ^ Migrant crisis: UN criticises Hungary over border controls. BBC News. Published on 9 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Hungary Completes 2nd Border Fence Meant to Stop Migrants". Fox News (from the Associated Press). 28 April 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Hungary Completes Second Fence to Keep Out Migrants". Deutsche Welle. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Migrant crisis: Hungary challenges EU quota plan in court". BBC. 5 December 2015.
  26. ^ Gorondi, Pablo (26 July 2017). "EU Court Advised to Reject Hungary, Slovakia Refugee Case". Associated Press.
  27. ^ "Hungary's Viktor Orban sends EU a border fence bill". Deutsche Welle. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  28. ^ Heath, Ryan (5 September 2017). "Junker slaps down Orbán over border funding request". Politico. Letter dated 5 September 2017 from Jean-Claude Juncker to Viktor Orbán. [1]
  29. ^ "Refugee crisis: European Court of Justice rejects quota challenge". Deutsche Welle. 6 September 2017. For the judgment see >
  30. ^ "Hungary to Close Border With Croatia". Voice of America. 6 October 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  31. ^ Lyman, Rick (16 October 2015). "Hungary to Close Its Border With Croatia in Migrant Crackdown". New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  32. ^ Barbara Surk and Stephen Castle (17 October 2015). "Hungary Closes Border, Changing Refugees' Path". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  33. ^ A szlovén határnál is készül drótakadály Híradó, 24 September 2015 (in Hungarian)
  34. ^ Tekercsekben áll a lebontott drótakadály a magyar-szlovén határon Blikk, 26 September 2015 (in Hungarian)
  35. ^ Hungary preparing to extend border fence towards Romania. 15 September 2015.
  36. ^ It is possible every time that Hungary starts to build the fence on the Romanian border., 5 March 2016.
  37. ^ "Orban offers help to Romania to seal its border for migrants". Europost. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  38. ^ "Elfogott migránsok száma - dátum szerinti lekérdezés". A Magyar Rendőrség hivatalos honlapja (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2016-06-18.
  39. ^ John D. C. Linnell. Border controls: Refugee fences fragment wildlife. Nature 13 January 2016.
  40. ^ "Vojvodina Blind Mole Rat may go extinct due to construction of a fence along the border between Hungary and Serbia - SMSG - Small Mammal Specialist Group". Retrieved 26 January 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°06′00″N 19°24′00″E / 46.1000°N 19.4000°E / 46.1000; 19.4000