EU ready to help Hungary with migrant influx | News | DW | 25.08.2015
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EU ready to help Hungary with migrant influx

Brussels offers to give 'migrant hotspot' status to Hungary, which means extra resources to deal with the crisis at its border. Budapest has again been warned against building a new fence to keep refugees out.

The European Commission on Tuesday offered to help Hungary deal with the record number of migrants crossing its borders.

The overture came a day after Budapest revealed almost 2,100 refugees streamed into the country on Monday alone, the highest daily figure so far this year.

"We are ready to create a 'hotspot' in Hungary because this country needs our support," said Natasha Bertaud, a spokeswoman for Europe's executive body, based in Brussels. The decision would make Hungary the third EU 'hotspot' after Catania - in Sicily - and Greece.

Migrants race north

On Monday, Budapest said it was seeking additional European Union funds to deal with the influx, which it described as the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

Janos Lazar, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff, was quoted by the newspaper Magyar Hirlap as saying that old member states had "nicked" funds earmarked for new members. He added EU money was distributed in a "humiliating way."

Meanwhile Bertaud told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that "no request has been made so far by Hungary," but that European teams could be deployed fairly quickly.

As well as coping with a large influx of migrants escaping the Syrian conflict, Hungary is also facing arrivals from its neighbors, including Kosovo and Serbia and Bosnia, following a recent lifting of travel restrictions. Many move on to richer EU countries and claim asylum there.

More than 140,000 migrants have reached the Hungarian border with Serbia this year, according to police data.

Migrants at Hungarian border

Hungarian border officials worked through the night on Monday to process a record number of migrants arriving.

'Forget the fence'

The government has ordered a new 4-meter (13-foot) high fence to be built along its 174-kilometer (109-mile) frontier.

But on Tuesday a United Nations human rights expert said that fences, tear gas and threats wouldn't keep refugees away.

Francois Crepeau said EU states should focus on controlling but not sealing borders and must expand efforts to infiltrate people-smuggling rings.

He called for a massive resettlement program for refugees feeling violence from countries like Syria and Eritrea.

mm/jil (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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