Nick Gutteridge, Express, February 29, 2016
No-nonsense prime minister Viktor Orban today announced plans to construct an enormous 280-mile long razor wire barrier which will completely seal his country off from southern Europe.
The fence will join up with those currently deployed along Hungary’s borders with Serbia and Croatia to create an impregnable barrier to migrants headed north towards Germany and Scandinavia.
Mr Orban has styled himself as a defender of Christian Europe, repeatedly ignoring pleas from European Union (EU) bureaucrats to open up his country’s borders to millions of migrants.
He insists that Hungary is protecting the rest of the continent from the refugee flow by building a shield which will deter migrants from making the journey.
The fence, along the border with Romania, will create an enormous barrier cutting off northern Europe from the Balkans below. Once it is completed migrants will only be able to travel further into the continent by squeezing through tiny Slovenia, to the West, or risking the trek through war-torn Ukraine, to the East.
The latest plans are bound to infuriate Brussels further, with Hungary already under pressure for its controversial deportation system which can see asylum seekers booted out of the country within hours of arriving.
They come as Greece’s migration minister warned that 70,000 people will become trapped in his country after arriving on boats from Turkey.
Macedonia, to the north, is refusing to let through anybody who is not from Syria or Iraq in a bid to stop the migrant flow, but Greek leaders warn the policy is turning their country into a “graveyard of souls”.
An unrepentant Mr Orban tonight railed against the EU, blaming its and Germany’s open arms approach to migration for causing the unprecedented crisis.
In his annual state address, Mr Orban described the EU’s reaction to the migrant crisis as “absurd” and said it was deliberately making no effort to stop the influx.
During a scathing speech, often interrupted by applause, he compared Brussels bureaucrats to the captain of a ship heading towards rocks who spends time “designating the non-smoking lifeboats instead of trying to avoid the collision”.
He raged: “It is bad enough that Brussels cannot organise Europe’s defense, but worse is that even the intention is missing.
“Europe’s future is endangered primarily not by those who want to come here, but by those political, economic and intellectual leaders who are trying to transform Europe in opposition to the European people.
“We will teach Brussels, the human traffickers and the migrants that Hungary is sovereign country.”
He added: “We cannot solve the demographic problems of the undeniably dwindling and ageing European population with the Muslim world without losing our lifestyle, security and ourselves. Those coming here have no intention of adapting to our lifestyle.”
And he blasted: “If necessary, we will protect ourselves all the way from Slovenia to Ukraine.”
Last year Hungary sparked controversy by building a 110-mile long border along its southern border with Serbia to stop the huge numbers of migrants entering the country.
When refugees started heading through neighbouring Croatia instead Mr Orban sealed off that route too with a further fence.
He has since refused to cooperate with a Brussels asylum seeker relocation scheme, claiming the EU is looking to set up a “mandatory, permanent and continuous redistribution system” which will allow for unprecedented migration in the future.
Conservative Mr Orban has been a repeated opponent of mass migration, warning that large numbers of Muslim refugees will change the culture of Europe forever.
Last month he welcomed a move by Austria to cap the number of migrants it will accept every day, saying it was “the most important news of the past months”.
He said: “Common sense has prevailed. Europe can’t take in huge masses of foreign people in an unlimited, uncontrolled manner.
“The best migrant is the migrant who does not come.”
But his comments on religion have been attacked by some, who said his remarks about Islam could stoke tensions.
The announcement came as Greek leaders warned of an impending humanitarian crisis sparked by border closures across the Balkans.
Several countries have reimposed border controls as the doomed Schengen free movement agreement continues to crumble, trapping tens of thousands of migrants in Greece with nowhere to go.
Today Greek migration minister Yannis Mouzalas warned: “We estimate that we will have a number of people trapped in our country which will be between 50,000 and 70,000 . . . I believe in the coming month.”