• Austria's news in English

Austria to help Hungary cope with migrant wave

The Local/AFP · 1 Jul 2015, 09:48

Published: 01 Jul 2015 09:48 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"The EU must not just be focused on the Mediterranean sea routes but also the Balkan route," Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told a press conference.

Mikl-Leitner said she wants to improve cooperation with Budapest to help secure its borders.

Hungary has refused to take back asylum seekers from other EU states and is threatening to build a fence along its border with Serbia to stem the flow of irregular migrants.

The European Commission has pledged to send financial aid and experts to Hungary to help it cope with a surge in illegal immigration this year, a senior Brussels official said in Budapest on Tuesday.

"Hungary will receive nearly €8 million ($9 million) of support to help it cope with the migration issue," said Dimitris Avramopoulos, the commission's senior official for migration issues, told journalists after a meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Calling European Union member Hungary a "frontline" state like Italy and Greece, Avramopoulos said "Europe will always support frontline member states".

"Hungary is under pressure. We were talking so far about Italy and Greece, now we added Hungary," he noted.

Brussels also offered to send asylum experts and help set up temporary "hot-spot" tents to speed up identification and registration of migrants and processing of asylum requests, Avramopoulos said.

In the last two years, Hungary, also a member of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, has become a major transit country for refugees and migrants attempting to reach wealthy Western countries like Austria and Germany by land rather than sea.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban complained last week in Brussels that Hungary was receiving little help from Brussels compared to Italy and Greece. "Now more attention is being paid to Hungary," Avramopoulos said on Tuesday.

In 2014, Hungary received more asylum requests per capita than any other EU country apart from Sweden, up to nearly 43,000 from just 2,000 in 2012.

Most come from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, but also from Kosovo.

This year, more than 50,000 migrants tried to cross into Hungary via Serbia between January 1 and May 31 -- representing an 880 percent increase compared to the same period in 2014, according to the EU's Frontex border agency.

The surge has coincided with a series of controversial anti-immigration measures launched by Orban.

Earlier in June, his government unveiled plans to build a four-metre (13-foot) high fence on its border with Serbia to keep out migrants.

"We try to adopt a common European agenda, a common European policy on migration but member states are not deprived of the right to adopt their own policy on matters of defending borders," Avramopoulos said.

Fences have already been built by Greece and Bulgaria, also EU member states, he added.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Verdict on swimming pool rape case overturned
The Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

An Iraqi refugee who was jailed after claiming it was a sexual emergency when he raped a boy in a swimming pool has had the sentence overturned.

Vienna Comic Con promises to be 'bigger and more galactic'
Cosplay star Yaya Han. Copyright: Yaya Han/Bryan Humphrey

Comic Con returns to the Austrian capital on November 19th-20th at the Messe Wien.

Three refugees arrested on drugs charges
Cannabis plants. Photo: J. Patrick Bedell/Wikimedia

A gang of three Afghani drug dealers has been busted in Vienna.

Hungarian woman crushed by snowcat piste machine
Snowcat machine. Photo: Melensdad/Wikimedia

A young Hungarian woman has died after being crushed by a snowcat piste machine on the Dobratsch mountain in Carinthia.

Austrian policeman sentenced over 'Heil Hitler' salute
Photo: Flickr

A policeman in Austria was sentenced on Thursday for shouting "Heil Hitler" at a driver during a traffic check at the Hungarian border in April.

Scary clown craze endangers crucial work of clown 'doctors'
Photo: Bojan Tavcar

Within the last couple weeks, disturbing events involving masked individuals has caught public attention in Austria.

Chimney sweep rescues lost mushroom picker
Photo: James Lindsey/Wikimedia

A 76-year-old Austrian man who went out mushroom picking almost froze to death after getting lost and spending the night in the forest.

Refugees sold into forced prostitution
File photo: UNHCR

Female refugees are being sold into forced prostitution in Austria, a police investigation into human trafficking has found.

Driverless bus takes a spin around Salzburg's old town
The Arma driverless shuttle bus. Photo: Navya

A driverless minibus has made a test journey in the city of Salzburg.

No jail time for asylum seeker who dumped baby in road
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A man who grabbed his own child and dumped her in the middle of a busy road has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available