Refugee crisis: Hungary launches border crackdown – live updates

Refugee crisis: Hungary launches border crackdown – live updates

  • Laws to criminalise migrants from Serbia to Hungary come into force
  • EU ministers fail to agree binding quota system for refugees
  • More European countries reintroduce border controls

8.39am BST

The main official border crossing point between Serbia and Hungary was closed to migrants on Tuesday, the UN’s refugee agency has confirmed.

At midnight, it shut the crossing near Roszke, leaving hundreds of migrants to queue with no apparent hope of entering.

“The border was shut and has yet to re-open,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told AFP from the border.

“Our staff do not have access, and the Hungarian authorities have not let us know about any schedule they have for re-opening the border,” he added.

8.29am BST

First arrests under Hungary’s border crackdown

The first arrests have occurred under Hungary’s new border laws, according to Reuters.

Hungarian police detained nine Syrian and seven Afghan migrants early on Tuesday for illegally crossing the Serbian border fence, a police spokeswoman said.

Police spokeswoman Viktoria Csiszer-Kovacs said the migrants were suspected of lifting the razor wire fence to get into Hungary, which constitutes a crime under the new laws that took effect at midnight.

Under the new system Hungary has designated Serbia as a safe country so if asylum seekers have entered from Serbia without already applying for asylum there – they face automatic expulsion within eight days.

Migrants arrested by Hungarian police officers and soldiers after they tried to cross the border line between Serbia and Hungary in Roszke, southern Hungary, on Tuesday.
Migrants arrested by Hungarian police officers and soldiers after they tried to cross the border line between Serbia and Hungary in Roszke, southern Hungary, on Tuesday. Photograph: Matthias Schrader/AP

8.17am BST

Hungarian MEP Gyorgy Schopflin has defended his country’s tough new border laws.

He said Hungary could not cope with the “flood” of people arriving. “It is this shock that I think the government is dealing with,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He suggested that the new controls would help calm tension in Hungary. “The more the refugees come in this uncontrolled flood, the more the anti-refugee sentiments arises,” he said.

Schopflin, a member of the Fidesz the party founded by Hungary’s anti-immigration prime minister Viktor Orban, also rejected the idea of EU quotas for resettling refugees. He said: “We don’t know if we want the commission to impose obligatory quotas. Voluntary is another story.”

Schopflin said the “silent majority” of Europeans did not welcome more refugees despite the visible welcome made by many members of the public.

And he insisted that it was this public rejection that had forced Germany to reintroduce border controls. Schopflin also claimed that the number refugees arriving was a threat to security and some of Europe’s core values. He said: “If you have a large number of unassimilated recently-arrived migrants, they are potentially capable of destabilising law and order which of course puts the whole of democracy and liberalism in danger.”

Migrants arrested by Hungarian police officers and soldiers after they tried to cross the border line between Serbia and Hungary in Roszke, southern Hungary.
Migrants arrested by Hungarian police officers and soldiers after they tried to cross the border line between Serbia and Hungary in Roszke, southern Hungary. Photograph: Matthias Schrader/AP

7.57am BST

The border crackdown in Hungary comes a day after the authorities reported a new record number of migrants. The Hungarian police said they intercepted 9,380 people entering Hungary on Monday, a sharp rise the previous record set the day before.

Police in Hungary recorded a record number of new arrivals on Monday
Police in Hungary recorded a record number of new arrivals on Monday Photograph: Hungarian Police

7.42am BST

Summary

Welcome to live coverage of the continuing refugee crisis gripping Europe as laws to criminalise migrants in Hungary come into force.

Here’s a roundup of the latest developments:

Updated at 7.43am BST

This article titled “Refugee crisis: Hungary launches border crackdown – live updates” was written by Matthew Weaver, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 15th September 2015 07.39 UTC