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Hungary announces completion of Croatian border fence ahead of EU summit

Hungarian officials have said they finished a fence along the Croatian border, which they are ready to close off. The announcement comes ahead of an EU emergency summit to discuss the refugee crisis.

Hungary announced it had finished the construction of a razor-wire fence along the Croatian border to help stem the flow of refugees into Europe.

Addressing reporters in Budapest on Thursday, government spokesman Janos Lazar said Hungary was prepared to seal off the border completely but would wait until after talks had ended between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and EU officials at a summit later today in Brussels.

Hungary has already fenced off its border with Serbia.

During an interview with national broadcaster m1, Orban said the border with Croatia could be closed "within an hour if necessary," Reuters news agency reported.

Refugee talks ahead

Hungary's announcement comes the same day EU leaders are set to gather in Brussels to discuss the refugee crisis. The summit will focus particularly on Turkey, which has agreed to a safe zone along its border with Syria in hopes of stopping the flood of people fleeing war in the Middle East.

Leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Francois Hollande have pledged support in helping to lift the burden for refugee-hosting countries like Turkey.

Orban, on the other hand, has strongly opposed the possibility of a European quota system for refugees, saying his country has the "democratic right" to turn people away from its borders.

Last month, the Hungarian leader met with Horst Seehofer, head of the the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria. Seehofer has alienated Merkel, leader of the CSU's nationwide sister, the CDU, for threatening to turn refugees away from Bavaria's border with Austria.

blc/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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