Closing the Croatian-Hungarian border will not solve anything

It was telegraphed way before yesterday’s summit of the European Council that the key question would be how the European Union could entice Turkey not to allow the unlimited exodus of Pakistani, Afghan, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees from its territory. It is only Turkey that can play a meaningful role in stemming the refugee tide because defending the borders of Greece would be a hopeless undertaking given its 6,000 km shoreline. Yet, hopeless or not, this was one of the demands of Viktor Orbán already at the last Brussels summit.

Naturally, under these circumstances Turkey is in an ideal position to push for its long-standing political demands vis-à-vis the European Union, such as renewing negotiations for Turkey’s EU membership. Of course, Turkey will need other enticements to take care of ever larger numbers of refugees. The Hungarian government as a friend of the present Turkish regime is supportive of Turkey’s aspirations and is ready to follow whatever common policy the EU comes up with.

The summit, however, didn’t support Orbán’s suggestion for the common defense of Greece’s borders. Instead they opted to strengthen Frontex, an agency whose mission “promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter applying the concept of integrated border management.” After the meeting Donald Tusk explained that the decision was made to endow Frontex with greater powers than what it now possesses to ensure “the defense of the European community.” But, he added, a humane and effective solution must be found because otherwise “others” will find inhumane, nationalistic, un-European solutions. I wonder whom Tusk had in mind.

By last night we knew that although Viktor Orbán had voted for the proposals that included the strengthening of Frontex, he would act unilaterally. The fence between Croatia and Hungary was complete, the troops were ready to move. He said that his decision on whether to close the border between the two countries would depend on the agreements the European Council reached at the summit that ended late last night. Right after the meeting the Hungarian prime minister was accosted by a few reporters, and he indicated that he was very unhappy about the summit’s failure to adopt his suggestion for the defense of Greece’s borders. Therefore there was little doubt in anyone’s mind that by this afternoon, shortly after his arrival in Budapest, the border with Croatia would be sealed.

We know two persons whom Viktor Orbán met while in Brussels because we have photos of the meetings. One was with Angela Merkel at a gathering of EPP leaders before the summit began. We don’t know whether he warned the German chancellor about his impending plans, but if he did, I’m sure the announcement was not met with her approval.

The other meeting was with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, who is just as forceful a man as Orbán is. It was not a formal encounter, but whatever transpired couldn’t have been the friendliest. I gather that this time Orbán did tell Milanović about his plans because after the summit the Croatian prime minister announced that he doesn’t care what Hungary does. He said that “Hungary’s solutions didn’t find supporters in the European Union.” It seems, however, that the two men agreed that “Hungary will not send soldiers to the Croatian-Hungarian border.” Well, that agreement was short-lived: thousands of Hungarian soldiers, policemen, and TEK forces are now stationed along the border.

Zoran Milanović and Viktor Orbán in Brussels, October 15, 2015 MTI / Európai Tanács / Enzo Zucchi

Zoran Milanović and Viktor Orbán in Brussels, October 15, 2015
MTI / Európai Tanács / Enzo Zucchi

As of midnight refugees can enter Hungary from Croatia only through two official gates, one at Beremend and the other at Letenye. Readers of Index and Magyar Idők spotted TEK convoys moving toward these two border crossings, one in the southern and the other in the western section of the Croat-Hungarian border. We can only hope that this time members of TEK will be less brutal than they were a month ago in Röszke on the Serb-Hungarian border.

The opposition parties condemned the decision to seal yet another border, and Együtt and DK accused the Hungarian government of meddling in Croatian domestic affairs. On November 8 there will be national elections in Croatia where the fate of the ruling Kukuriku coalition of four center-left and centrist parties hangs in the balance.  (Yes, “kukuriku” in Croatian means exactly the same thing as in Hungarian [kukurikú] “cock-a-doodle-doo.” The coalition was named after the restaurant where they first met.) The right-of-center Patriotic Coalition, headed by Tomislav Karamarko, is challenging the socialist Zoran Milanović. Polls show that the election will be close.

Fidesz’s sympathies lie with HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union), the largest party in the Patriotic Coalition. In the last few days the Hungarian government has lavishly courted the conservative Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who spent three days in the Hungarian capital and held long, friendly conversations with President János Áder. Her win in January was a great surprise to everyone, but from the little I know about Croatian politics her win didn’t signal a serious turn to the right in Croatia. Moreover, according to the latest polls, since Zoran Milanović decided to pick a fight with the Hungarian prime minister the Kukuriku Coalition’s popularity has only grown. Although the Orbán government is hoping to strengthen HDZ with its policies, its anti-Croatian rhetoric may backfire. Of course, a win for the conservatives in Croatia would be considered a triumph for Viktor Orbán and would mean a new ally in the region.

As far as we know, preparations are in place to move the refugees from Croatia to Slovenia. For the time being most people consider building a fence between Slovenia and Hungary, two Schengen countries, outside the realm of possibilities. I don’t want to give any tips to the Orbán government, but I heard a Hungarian international lawyer who is convinced that it could be done legally. Let’s hope he is wrong because otherwise there will be no end to Orbán’s fence building, which has so far cost Hungarian taxpayers 100 million dollars.

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exTor
Guest

Why should building a fence between Slovenia and itself be “outside the realm of possibilities” for Hungary just because it and Slovenia are both Schengen countries?

Hungary barbwired its border with Croatia, a fellow member of the EU. That contravened the spirit of Schengen, notwithstanding the fact that Croatia is still not officially part of the Schengen group.

Orbán, as you suggested, will not likely barricade Slovenia, which is very near Austria. Refugees now will have to move laterally to get to Austria. I’m talking about those already at the Serbia/Hungary border.

Newer refugees will have learned of the border situation and will start heading diagonally –northwest instead of north– across the Balkans in order to shorten their travel.

I wish them luck, especially now that the weather has gotten foul. It’s been raining for a week straight and today’s was quite heavy in Csepel.

MAGYARKOZÓ

german1971
Guest

Poor refugees are out of luck.
Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria are making the transit very painful and expensive.
The overall bill must be sent to Assad, Putin, Khamenei.
The credibility of the Western leaders will suffer if these people will not be charged with crimes against humanity.

Nádas
Guest

In fact, closing the Croatian border will solve the same problem that closing the Serbian border at Röszke solved: it keeps the migrants out of Hungary – whether that is right, wrong or neither – and ironically (since fences are against EU rules) forces Croatia to obey EU rules.

Let’s keep in mind that the government in Zagreb was illegally funneling them into Hungary near Pécs because Slovenia had closed its borders and refused to act even as a conduit to Austria, since allowing unregistered migrants to travel farther into the Schengen Zone is also a violation of EU rules.

Somewhat farther afield, Bulgarian border guards shot and killed an Afghan man the other day. He was part of a group of some 50 who were attempting to illegally enter Bulgaria from Turkey.

Webber
Guest
actually… closing the Serbian border at Röszke solved exactly nothing, because it did not keep migrants out of Hungary. They just went to Croatia and entered Hungary from there, en masse. They are even still coming over that fence between Serbia and Hungary by the thousands, and only a few of them are arrested. Just look at official data on entries into Hungary. Hungarian official media just doesn’t like to report how many of them are simply crossing the fence (I watch it, too). They will cross the fence with Croatia, too, you can bet. It’s not a terribly high fence, after all. The Croatian government announced several weeks ago what would happen if Hungary completes a fence on the Croatian border – Croatia said it was preparing boats to take refugees across the Drava river, where there is no fence as yet (the Hun. govt. thinks of the Drava as a natural barrier). Perhaps the Croats won’t do it – we’ll have to wait and see. I know if I were a Croat, I would want my government to do it. I’d be very angry with Hungary for building the fence (Serbs are angry about that fence – at… Read more »
Nádas
Guest
Closing Röszke was extremely effective. It halted huge crowds from marching up the M5 to Budapest, and gave everyone a good look at Serbia’s, Croatia’s and Slovenia’s responses to the crisis that the closure caused them. Like backward-falling dominoes, first Austria closed its border, then Slovenia and Croatia followed suit, before Zagreb chose to violate EU rules and shuffle the migrants toward the Hungarian border. I haven’t heard anything about “thousands” of migrants still crossing the Serbian border, and it might be happening. If it is, I would certainly expect someone to report such large numbers passing through the country on foot. I haven’t heard or seen anything of the kind. Within the past few hours, Slovenia has begun to accept refugees as a result of the Hungarian border closing, and will no doubt try to move them along toward Austria as quickly as possible, so long as Austria continues to allow passage. The end result, whether they arrive from Hungary or Slovenia, is the same for the migrants. The upshot – and apparently this is what the government is aiming for – will be a drastic reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing Hungarian territory. Orbán has staked his… Read more »
Webber
Guest
How was the fence at Röszke effective??? Within a week, all those people (every single one of them) had crossed into Hungary via Croatia. As a press stunt, it was effective – domestically, a success, abroad there was very thorough coverage on how brutal TEK is (“vipera” wielded, rubber bullets fired by TEK, intl. press people beaten – Magyarország jobban teljesít?). Otherwise, it was ridiculous. Numbers of refugees still snowballing in other countries? And all those people have been passing through Hungary, and I’d bet you a large sum that they will keep doing it, and I’d bet another large sum that Hungarian govt. media won’t mention a word about it. Press coverage on thousands crossing the fence every single day is available if you just look. The fact that you haven’t seen it means that you haven’t been reading Index (in Hungarian), or much international press on the issue. Stories on this have already been linked here in the comments on earlier blog entries. Tappanch, in particular, has been effective in providing links to the uselessness of the fence. I won’t give you the links because I’d like you to start looking at sources of news other than the… Read more »
Nádas
Guest

I get my information almost entirely from the international press, BBC, Washington Post, Spiegel, and other reasonably reliable sources, as well as some even from Klubrádió, and none from Fidesz-controlled media.

According to BBC, some 600,000 migrants have reached the EU this year by sea. Of that number, literally until just hours ago, only a few thousand had passed through Slovenia, because they simply wouldn’t allow it, not even after the Röszke closure.

Here is a passage from BBC, posted an hour ago, 4pm CET:

“There are fears in Slovenia, a nation of some two million people, that the latest border closure will channel many more migrants through the country.

“Extra police had been deployed to the border with Croatia, Slovene Interior Minister Vesna Gjorkos Znidar said.

“But the country will keep accepting refugees as long as Austria and Germany’s borders remain open, she said.”

That last sentence says it all. As long as they are transiting, everyone along their route says, “Good bye and good luck. Please don’t come back.”

Webber
Guest
Nádas Hun.’s Min of Interior says “the fence isn’t sufficient” with a picture of people climbing right over it, here: http://lanchidradio.hu/lanchidradiokulfold/pinter-istvan-a-kerites-nem-elegendo-1297793 950 refugees caught crossing the fence (that is, they CAN cross the fence) on a weekend in which another 18,000 crossed into Hungary from Croatia (where there was no fence), here: http://www.nyugat.hu/tartalom/cikk/19_ezer_menekult_hetvegen_magyarorszagra Elsewhere, if you look, you will find the numbers of those prosecuted, compared with the numbers of those who are crossing the fence. IF you will just look for it, you’ll find it. I maintain that you are not consuming anything but pro-government Hungarian news sources. There is no way you could not find this information if you looked. The vast majority of refugees are not being, and cannot be prosecuted because it would swamp the entire legal system. There is simply no way to give that many people a trial, no matter how quickly the courts work – so they don’t even try. They are just trying a few in the hope that this will discourage others. So, these people are tried and are expelled from Hungary, and then they turn right around and go back to Hungary through Croatia (soon Slovenia). They end up in… Read more »
Nádas
Guest

It should be obvious, even to you, that the trials are merely a ploy to deter further breaches of the borders. Following the inevitable convictions, the offenders are usually released back across the Serbian border, from where they continue their journey toward Germany via Croatia and Slovenia. But having been convicted – and fingerprinted and photographed – in Hungary, there is the possibility that they will be barred entry into the EU for two years.

The whole point of the exercise is to turn migrants away from the Hungarian border. Can you really not grasp that yet?

Webber
Guest
“the trials are merely a ploy to deter further breaches of the borders.” What did I say? Quoting myself: “They are just trying a few in the hope that this will discourage others.” Can you read, man?!!! I am beginning to think you can’t – you certainly couldn’t find information online. Are you in some way illiterate? (sympathies if you are – truly) There is NO possibility that the German authorities will bar the entry of legitimate refugees because of a conviction in Hungary based on that law. None whatsoever. I won’t explain why because you could discover that for yourself if you bothered (I gave you some links above, I won’t do it again). I know you won’t do it, but suggest you might want to read the international conventions on the treatment of refugees. Then read up on German govt. officials’ comments on Hungary’s prosecution of refugees (avoid Hun. govt. media on this – the German quotes on it are more than a little weird: go straight to the source). Incidentally, I would be willing to bet you a tidy sum that the Hungarian law on border violations will be found to be in violation of EU conventions.… Read more »
Webber
Guest
Nadas, back to our original dispute: it should now be obvious to you that Hungary’s deterrents aren’t working. It should also be obvious that the fence at Röszke stopped nobody. Those refugees all passed into Hungary via Croatia. And what happened when they reached Hungary? The Hungarian government sent them on to Austria on buses, at the Hungarian taxpayer’s expense. Tens of thousands have passed through W. Hungary since the fence was erected. What happened at Röszke is what you might call a műbalhé. A media event, completely devoid of meaning (n.b. the beating of journalists at Röszke will stick to this Hun. govt. and is going to effect the perception of this govt. for a very long time – those beaten and their colleagues will not forget.) All the while the govt. media tells you how effective the fence is, and how Hungary is complying with all regulations and is processing refugees. And you believed it. The fact is, Hungary is sending refugees, en masse with no processing, straight to Austria. And you can read about that, too, and yet you believed the b.s. about the fence at Röszke being effective, and repeated it here. Shame on you for… Read more »
Guest

Webber, don’t worry – Nadas is just an Orban troll, there’s no reasoning with lying creatures like that!
They think they’re oh so clever, but in the end …

Nádas
Guest

So how have I lied? What have I written that is not true? 55% vs. 52.73%?

“But in the end ….”

In the end, what? Go ahead, finish your thought, if you really had one.

Nádas
Guest

Yes, Hungary was sending them on to Austria, unprocessed, as long as the border was open. How this was reported in government-friendly media, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t read it, watch it, or listen to it.

german1971
Guest

Nadas likes immoral Orbans.

I am assuming that all anti-refugee Hungarians will applaud it when Hungarian soldiers will be deployed in Putin’s plot to save Assad in Syria.

Those soldiers will probably die in the Syrian-Daesh crossfire.

Nádas
Guest

No, you’re wrong, german. I’m simply stating the facts. Very many people throughout the region, though, do like what Orbán is doing, and would support their governments doing the same if it were to come to that. And that includes far more Hungarians than are willing to say so publicly, however they might feel about other Fidesz policies.

As the numbers grow, countries that have been welcoming the migrants will be forced to close the door. There is more than one government that could fall in the near future as a result of migration policies. Merkel’s is at the head of that list.

Guest

And how many Hungarians were detained, sent back or even shot by the Austrians when some 200 000 illegally entered Austria almost 60 years ago?
Sometimes I wonder about “Hungarian sanity”:

Of course when we Hungarians do it it’s different!

PS:
We have a similar situation in Germany – a lot of Easterners seem to have forgotten about their communist times and how later they were integrated into the West …
It’s no wonder that those extreme right wing and Neonazi groups are strongest there, seems it takes more than 25 years to learn what humanity and democracy really mean.

Nádas
Guest

I’m sorry to always be such a contrarian, but I thought by now we could have put to rest any comparison between ’56 and this current, unprecedented wave of migration. There simply is no comparison.

Guest

Of course, as I said, Hungarians are special …
And Orbán is the most special of all!
So you’re happy that these refugees were diverted around Hungary? It doesn’t really change the situation though – whether they come via Hungary or Croatia or …
But at least it pleased the Hungarian Nazis – and someone made a lot of money with that fence which will always be a reminder of the way Hungary treats others, unlucky people.
As I’ve written before – maybe the west should send back all those Hungarian “economic migrants” too? There are half a million of them in the UK and DACH – and they’re taking our jobs!

PS:
The image of Hungary as a democratic state has been clearly destroyed by Orbán – I’m in Germany right now and people ask me:
Wtf are Hungarians thinking? Do they really believe that they are something special? Why are so many of them working here? Why did we let them into the EU?
and so on …

PPS:
Of course the German right wingers are praising Orb’an – but that’s not something to be proud of, being the hero of the Neonazis …

Nádas
Guest

According to a recent article on BBC, Germans in Hamburg were quoted saying almost the same thing about Merkel: “What is she thinking?” Thousands of migrants are turning up there, and apparently housing is expensive and in short supply.

It’s not only the extreme right who agree with Orbán – millions of ordinary people throughout the region agree with him for different reasons. Hungary’s democracy is already a quaint relic of the (very short, very recent) past, and Viktor Orbán is certainly to blame for that. But it wasn’t just the migrant crisis that brought this about. He got that two-thirds majority and has played it for all it was worth. And for him, it’s been worth a hell of a lot.

But you don’t need a crystal ball to see where the migrant crisis is heading.

Guest

Nádas, you forgot something:
“He got that two-thirds majority” … with just about 44% of the votes!
And here’s how we Schwabs or rather our mayors are thinking – an open letter totally agreeing with Mrs Merkel, based on the Christian principles:
http://www.tagblatt.de/Home/nachrichten/rottenburg_artikel,-Oberbuergermeister-und-Landraete-stuetzen%C2%A0Merkel-Kurs-_arid,321598.html

Webber
Guest

Wolfi, you might as well give up. Fidesz people like Nádas (or rather Hungarians fed a diet of Fidesz-media) understand German (and Austrian!) politics much, much better than you Germans ever will.
Hell, Merkel doesn’t understand German politics….
You have no idea whom you are going to elect.
If you watch Fidesz-media you will understand that Pegida is on the verge of winning every election in Germany, that the re-election of the pro-refugee Socialist Mayor of Vienna this year didn’t actually happen (if it did, it’s irrelevant, because Hungarians KNOW Austrians want to vote for FPÖ – Austrian voters obviously made a mistake when they voted for the socialists).
And Americans out there – just forget it. You know nothing about American politics. OBVIOUSLY Donald Trump is going to take the White House. Just watch Hungarian news. You’ll be properly informed.
All of Europe is about to become Fidesz-loving. Orban’s picture will be in every European’s home. It’s going to happen. Just watch. Orban appeals to ordinary Germans, you see – they want to kiss his hand!
I get all teary when I think of it. I feel like singing – and I will!

Nádas
Guest

Webber, in terms simple enough for even you to understand, you are an idiot.

Webber
Guest

Maybe! But I also happen to be right!

You damned well haven’t been looking at non-govt. information about refugees passing over the fence.

exTor
Guest

Kinda weird that Éva wont countenance someone being called an ‘idiot’, yet she lets a lot of other worse (in my mind) things slide.

I’ve read posts by Nádas and it never occurred to me that that poster is a Fidesznik. Maybe Nádas can come clean on that. Perhaps Nádas is a low-key Fidesznik, not a raver, as is the occasional troll who happens by.

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

This rocks, Webber. I downloaded it and I’ve listened to it many times. Reminds me of the Red Army Choir. Stirring !!!

MAGYARKOZÓ

Nádas
Guest

Wolfi, I believe the figure in the 2010 election was closer to 55%, an outright majority. But what does it matter? Fidesz won their supermajority in parliament, and they actually did it fair and square. And then it was off to the races. That two-thirds majority handed them the keys to the country.

Again, let me emphasize that I’m simply restating facts, not necessarily my own opinion. I certainly don’t support the rollback of democracy or the massive nepotism and corruption that Orbán and Fidesz have wrought over the past few years, far eclipsing even that of previous MSZP governments. They lost a great deal of popular support over the internet tax, the “trafikmutyi,” the Sunday closings, and now the “földmutyi,” among other scandals.

Yet, against all odds, they regained a lot of lost ground through Orbán’s handling of the migrant crisis. It wasn’t pretty, but there are no migrants sleeping in the Keleti tonight. They’re in Ljubljana.

Guest

Well, your remark to Webber shows who is the idiot here …
Why do you quote the election results from 2010 and not the latest ones where even with the help of all those “new” citizens Fidesz made only 4x% of the votes?
Nadas, you really are just an Orbán troll – just as I thought from the beginning …
You guys can’t hide it, at least not in the long run!

Webber
Guest

Wolfi – Nádas either lied about the 2010 results, or he can’t read official data. It wasn’t 55%, it was 52.73% who voted for Fidesz.
In 2014 it was a little over 44% of active voters. If, however, you include those who did not vote, Fidesz’s level of support goes down to somewhere in the 30% range. In 2014 Fidesz got about 2.1 million votes. In 2002 Fidesz got more votes – 2.31 m. – but it wasn’t enough to form a govt. then.
Because of new electoral laws the 2.1 m. result was enough not only to form a govt, but to get a 2/3s majority in 2014. Since then, of course, they lost the 2/3s in local elections – most of which seem to be going against Fidesz these days.

For Nádas – pour l’éclaircissement: http://index.hu/belfold/valasztas/2014/04/07/1998_ota_nem_szavaztak_ilyen_kevesen_a_fideszre/

I am not sure Nádas is a Fidesz troll. I think he may just be a Fidesz-media consumer who doesn’t have a clue and doesn’t look at other news sources. But, of course, you might be right…

Guest

Webber, re Nádas:
I’m sure he is a troll, just from those numbers which you corrected.
Fidesz is trying very hard here to make an impression with “honest Orbán supporters” like him – but they just can’t stop, they’re just too accustomed to “reinterpreting the truth”, even when they’re so easily found out.
On the other hand one of my favourite sayings is:
If there’s one thing more idiotic than a liar – it’s a stupid liar …

Nádas
Guest
wolfi: I quoted the 2010 election results because that was when Fidesz/KDNP first got their super-majority. I assumed that when you wrote “with just about 44% of the votes” you too were referring to that election, since you didn’t specify 2014. That election, which included the erdélyi Hungarians, only confirmed the parliamentary majority, but thanks in large part to Fidesz manipulating the system. Which they are able to do thanks to their two-thirds majority. Get it? If I recall correctly, it was in an article by Charles Gati – possibly even quoted here by Dr. Balogh – that I first saw the 2010 figure, which was in fact probably 53%. Take note of Webber’s comment that I “either lied about the 2010 results, or … can’t read official data. It wasn’t 55%, it was 52.73% who voted for Fidesz.” So I was off by 2.27 whole percentage points. (My actual words were “closer to 55%.”) Why on earth would I lie about something like that? Are you still sure, Wolfi, who the idiot is here? And again, what does it matter? Fidesz won the election legally because more Hungarian citizens voted for them than for other parties. What they have… Read more »
Webber
Guest

On not being a Fidesz troll – I believe you (idiots are often gullible, though). I don’t understand why you disseminate misinformation. I suppose I should not speculate so much. Still, the fact remains that you have made a series of tendentious misstatements here. The common tendentious point between these statements is that they are all precisely what pro-govt. media say in Hungary.

2.27% is not splitting hairs in my view (again idiocy?), nor is pointing out that those who voted for Fidesz in 2014 are a minority of the electorate in every sense.

Fidesz media like to claim that the majority of Hungarians uncritically support the government. The last election showed that the majority of the Hungarian electorate do not support the government.

Nádas
Guest

If I have in fact “made a series of tendentious misstatements here,” please point them out.

Webber
Guest

Nádas, you wrote “If I have in fact “made a series of tendentious misstatements here,” please point them out.”

Isn’t that what I’ve been doing above and below, in point after point??

Webber
Guest
Nádas, you wrote: “there are no migrants sleeping in the Keleti tonight. They’re in Ljubljana.” Point of fact – there wouldn’t have been any refugees sleeping in Keleti at all if the govt. hadn’t decided to stop them there. None of them wanted to stay there. They all wanted to go West. They only went to Keleti to board trains (n.b. there is NO other reason to go to Keleti, you know – it’s not a very nice place). Refugees had been passing quietly through Keleti all year before the govt. stopped them. Nobody minded. They purchased tickets, got on trains, and went through Hungary. It’s very nice of the Hungarian government to bus refugees from Croatia straight to Austria. Saves the refugees a lot of money. Very good. A shame the Hungarian taxpayer has to pay for this, when the refugees were willing and able to pass through Hungary with no assistance at all before – but it is very humane to help them in this way. Funny that the Hungarian govt. media doesn’t mention it’s busing refugees through the country, isn’t it? You might think the govt. would want to show the public its humane side… Want to… Read more »
Nádas
Guest
If you remember, Webber, refugees began backing up at the Keleti because neither Austria nor Germany was willing to take them until late August. As I’ve noted here before, German police were patrolling the station alongside Hungarian colleagues even back in April to prevent Kosovar migrants from boarding trains. Austria was turning them back at the border. You may also recall that Syrian refugees and other migrants who had been processed in Szeged this summer were then given train tickets to migrant holding camps, such as Bicske and Debrecen, and they had to pass through the Keleti to get there. Many migrants also chose to sleep outside the Nyugati and even in the pedestrian tunnel by the Déli. Orbán’s handling of the situation only made a chaotic situation worse. Official policy seemed to change day by day, sometimes hour by hour. But until Merkel made her decision to open the door, those migrants were backing up in Hungary. Germany and Austria opened and closed their borders several times, further fueling the chaos. I have completely believe you that there are still refugees passing through very quietly in small groups or pairs or even singly. I’ve seen them on the metro.… Read more »
Webber
Guest

Nádas,
I saw Keleti in Aug. 1991 when it was chock full of refugees from Slavonia sleeping next to the tracks.
Keleti hasn’t been seriously renovated for the past 25 years, at least (unless you consider fixing the roof and adding some fences “renovation”).
And I was in Keleti at the end of June when I saw refugees getting on trains with tickets and with no problems whatsoever. There were no refugees sleeping in or near Keleti when I was there in June. They were just passing through. Someone I know saw three taken off a train before Austria. I’d be willing to bet that the ones I saw got through.
I maintain that those sleeping at the station were there only because of what Orban’s govt. did.

I also happen to think that I do see something of a larger picture. Of course I may be wrong. Perhaps not what you see, that’s all.

Nádas
Guest

The only recent renovations to the station itself that I know of were the restoration of the murals by Károly Lotz. But, as you know, Baross tér has been completely redone, including the forecourt leading to the train platforms. It was this area that provided fairly clean and covered shelter to thousands of refugees and migrants for several weeks in August and September.

Guest

Webber, you’re so right!
I remember very well when refugees had bought tickets and later were told:
Sorry, but there are no trains running …
I couldn’t believe my eyes at first but now I know that it’s all part of the Fidesz strategy.
Just look at this scathing article on Fidesz and corruption:
http://bbj.hu/opinion/editorial-appearance-of-corruption-becomes-routine_105784
Of course you don’t read that type of report in the Hungarian press …

petofi
Guest

The seperation of Church and State has been a tenet of demoratic development for at least 200 years…but Hungarians, who always know better, have reversed the process. How brilliant.

petofi
Guest

When the Russkies were rolling in dough, this joke made the rounds:

Stanislav and Vladimir meet in a restaurant and both are wearing the latest design by Versace. Vlad asks Stanislav: where did you buy the shirt. ‘In Paris’, came the reply, ‘and I paid a 1,000 euros for it.’ Stanislav replied: why, you numbskull, I bought mine in Miami and paid $2000 for it!

Now it could be said of Hungarians–the more they pay for it, the better they like it.

Gaff
Guest

Ok, let’s repeat.

Whatever Orban does and says at an EU summit is for domestic consumption (at most to annoy the EU leaders and mainstream politicians).

It’s irrelevant whether what he says makes sense or not.

The point is to have his ideas disseminated via the vast media empire he controls (and via the small outlets he doesn’t) so that average Hungarians could conclude that he is a player at the EU level (“Europe’s most influential politician” as the Fidesz media empire loves to repeat) and that they would say aha, yes, the Greeks or the Turkish should do more, whatever.

Istvan
Guest
Tappanch has provided good data for us on two things: the many refugees that have used Hungary as a transit route to Austria and Germany; also the very few refugees that will be locating in Hungary. The border fences may prove effective if a point comes where Austria and Germany become over-saturated with refugees and put on the breaks. At that point in becomes like a game I played as a child in Hungarian Saturday school, székfoglaló játék musical chairs, where we would circle the chairs while the music played until it stopped and try and get a seat as they were one by one eliminated to win cukorban eltesz. In this case it could be the country stuck with thousands of refugees that really want to be in Germany. They will not be a happy lot if that happens. Hopefully the flow of refugees will slow down with approaching winter before a saturation point is reached in Germany and there is a full scale political revolt against Merkel within Christian Democracy. As has been pointed out by Kim Lane Scheppele the entire EU policy on asylum is broken and Orban seized on that failure, the fences are part of… Read more »
twentyfive birds
Guest

If the Schengen treaty is to survive, the outside borders simply must be secured. Schengen will simply cease to exist if outside border countries implement “open border” policies and let through anyone and everyone without any checks, without any documents and any security.

Strong fences are the most effective to control a border. Of course the fences around Hungary are very weak these are only temporary fences. By contrast the fences around Israel are very strong and very effective.

The EU should observe best-practices from around the world. This means contacting Israel and buying the Israeli fence to protect the outside borders of the Schengen area. This should be done using EU money. If Israel a small country can do it, the EU with so many times larger economy can definitely do it.

The biggest advantage Israel has is the willingness to defend their own citizens, something the EU is lacking right now. It is no shame to copy other more successful countries, like Israel. The sooner Merkel understands this, the better.

Guest

You’re funny in a way …
The “outside borders” of Greece, Italy, Spain (maybe you could find more similar Schengen countries looking on a map …) are the sea …
And you know how long the seafront is – compared to Israel?
Fences along the sea – a really nice idea!

twentyfive birds
Guest

Israel also borders the sea in case you did not go to elementary school. So how come there is no “fences along the sea” in Israel… Because it is not necessary, you simply sink all boats used for smuggling and the smugglers are sent back to exactly where they came from.

Italy and Greece both violate the Schengen agreement for years. They allow entry for all illegals without checking them for any security threats, these countries do not belong in Schengen in any way and in fact France already sealed its border with Italy.

Israel’s border is smaller yes, but you forgot to mention that the EU GDP is larger than the Israeli GDP… So the EU has many more times as much money for fences and sinking ships of smugglers. A lot more. If Israel can do it, the EU can definitely do it. You just have to build a tough strong fence like the engineers in Israel built. And not the weak and shitty EU type fences.

The solution is simple. The EU should buy the Israeli fence and contract the Israeli engineers to build it.

Guest

“Israel also borders the sea in case you did not go to elementary school.” Very funny …
I knew that was coming – have you an idea how long the coast line of Italy or Greece is?
And of course, sinking all the smugglers’ boats – preferably while the people are still on them?

Guest
Tyrker
Guest

Hungary has not closed its border with Croatia, only the so-called “green border.”
The border crossings are open, to anyone with valid travel documents.
Those who do not have any – such as refugees – can submit their asylum applications in the transit zones.

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