Hungary to erect fence along border with Serbia

Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced Wednesday that the Orbán government has decided to erect a four metre fence along a 175 km stretch of border with Serbia, in order to stop the flow of refugees and migrants entering the country. Mr. Szijjártó pointed to the border between Bulgaria and Turkey as a precedent, and added that in the government’s reading, they were not contravening any international laws by sealing their border in this manner.  The government has instructed the Interior Minister, Sándor Pintér, to complete all necessary preparations for the construction of the security fence within one week.

In the first five months of the years, 54,000 migrants entered Hungary illegally, primarily through Serbia. The government estimates that this number will rise to 120,000 by the end of the year, in contrast to 40,000 illegal arrivals in 2014.

This map, produced by Hungary's Office of Immigration and Citizenship, shows the flow of migrants arriving in Hungary.

This map, produced by Hungary’s Office of Immigration and Citizenship, shows the flow of migrants arriving in Hungary. The map very much highlights that Hungary remains a transit country.

A in-depth report published by the liberal news site Index on security fences used in other countries, it was noted that these measures often come hand-in-hand with brutality on the part of border guards and police officers. Bulgaria began re-building its fence along a 200 km stretch of Turkish border in 2014, just 10 years after dismantling the remnants of the iron curtain. That’s when Bulgaria had joined NATO and it removed the barrier, primarily as a symbolic gesture. The construction of the fence proved to be a much longer and more expensive project than initially expected. The government planned to spent 2.6 million euros on the first phase, but this amount wasn’t anywhere nearly enough to erect the first 30 km stretch. But according to Bulgarian authorities, it has been worth every penny. They managed to decrease the number of illegal immigrants from 11,000 to 6,000 between 2013 and 2014.

Police brutality, however, has also been a reality. It is believed that two refugees from Iraq were beaten to death by Bulgarian police. Many other refugees have shared experiences of beatings from Bulgarian police and border guards.

Greece has also erected a security fence along its border with Turkey, also 3 metres high, like the barrier on the Bulgarian side. As  well, crossing the border illegally into Greece carries a 6-month jail sentence and a fine of up to 10,000 euros.

Péter Tarjányi, a security expert, told the online news site that erecting a barbed wire fence  with all the necessary electronic alarm mechanisms and infra-red gates would require significant on-going spending and up-keep each year. A simple barbed wire fence would not suffice on its own. Rather, Hungary would have to erect a complex system of physical defences and barriers.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee observed that there was nothing stopping the Orbán government from erecting such a fence on Hungarian territory. Refugees will likely seek other places to cross into the European Union, and some of these may be more dangerous than escaping through the friendlier terrain of the Hungarian Great Plains. As such, more refugees may end up dying during their quest for asylum.

It’s worth noting that the erection of the fence is a unilateral move on the part of the Orbán government. Plans were in place for a summit with Serbia in July, but it appears as though Hungary will proceed with the construction of a security fence even before this meeting.


  1. Good fences make good neighbors.

  2. Liladiadal,

    Thank God the Austrians didn’t share your opinion and attitude in 1956…

    • If you equal Hungarians (Christians/Europeans/300 years shared statehood with Austria) leaving to Asutria with those fleeing from Afghanistan, Syria, Lybia or Bangladesh to Hungary then you need a very serious adjustment to real life.

  3. Avatar Pierre Divenyi says:

    Liladiadal = Narancsdiadal.

  4. Avatar Charlie London says:

    Liladiadel =Narancsdiadal = Jobbikdiadel

    • Avatar Charlie London says:

      Orban must know that Serbia is a putative future member of the EU.

      The fence will have to come down as soon as Serbia gains accession.

      Schengen will require it.

      So another desperate election-campaign move for 2018 – just like the posters.

      Most borders are just a small inconvenience – they just become a detour.

      The Siegfreid line and Maginot lines were just circumvented – Orban’s thin barbedwire fence will be no different.

      How can you patrol a 170km fence? Even with CCTV and modern technology (drones) as the USA have discovered on the Texas/Mexican border.

      Just an enormous expense that Hungary can ill afford. (Might make work for the over-resourced TEK thugs though.)

      Most migrants will just go round it via Romania or Slovenia.

      Don’t hang your washing on the HungSerb Line of you want to stay in the EU. It won’t be there very long.

      On the other hand make sure you draw up plans for a HungSlov Line; a HungStria Line; a HungVakia Line; a HungKraine line, a HungMania line because you will be ostracised in the not too distant future when you are dumped by the EU.

      Many of Orbans ‘ideas’ are predicated on his belief that the EU will collapse. It won’t – just Hungary (and Greece).

      This is his effort to bring that collapse forward.

      What a nasty Dictator.

      Message to Hungary: why are you so quiet about your President? your MPs? You’re MEPs? Your Mayors? And all who represent you?

      Get off your butts and do what you should.


      And revolt soon.

  5. good to see that the govt has already correctly identified that the migrants will simply cross into Romania and then across the open border into Hungary. Problem with fences is that you can go round them.

  6. “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    Fences isolate. Indeed Orban is isolating Hungary. Why so many people agree with him then? Because they understand the seriousness of the immigration problem, what they don’t clearly see, or at least not many of them, is that the solution and the answer must be professional and not something that creates more problem. The mechanical fence will not be able to keep the immigrants away anyhow, but the fact, the action of erecting it as a member of an alliance system, the EU, might be enough to isolate Hungary from the EU and the international community. This is not the way to solve the problem. Does he have the power and a scenario to deal with the consequences of erecting a fence and his ugly billboard campaign or is he just hitting blindly to the left to the right like a drunken pub fighter? Has he ever made it clear how to go on tomorrow?

    Moreover, many of the Hungarians cannot see Orban’s manipulating technique through, how he is exploiting a serious issue to influence and manipulate the populace according to his wish. Just one sample; his xenophobe fear and hate mongering billboards were the exact copy of the European Court Of Human Rights Logo – colors and letters in order to make it appear familiar and authentic in the eyes of the viewers and to troll and anger the EU further on.

    • but the fact, the action of erecting it as a member of an alliance system, the EU, might be enough to isolate Hungary from the EU and the international community.

      Fences protect. Orbán protects Hungary. This is the reason why so many people agree with him. Because they see that the impotent EU is self-bound by its own ideological restrictiions and dogmas. And as the fence will undoubtedly reduce the number of illegal immigrants, the sober majority disillusioned from the meaningless political squabbling within the EU will decide to take actions through their own national governments rather than waiting for effective measures from Brussels that will never arrive. The sooner they realize it the more effective the prevention of being overwhelmed by millions of immigrants will be.

      • The number of immigrants to Hungary is sharply declining due to the miserable economic state of Hungary, poverty. A all Hungary is nothing but a teetering house of card.

        “This is a very obvious diversionary tactic. There are many social and economic problems here. There are four million people (40 per cent of Hungary’s population) living in poverty”, the former diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”
        “This is a scandal,” said a former senior diplomat in the region. “Hungary, which was the first Communist country to dismantle the Iron Curtain, is now building a new curtain on its southern border.”
        Telegraph, London, Reuters
        Yet, even if there are some ten thousands of refugees to Hungary they will not stay there as they mainly heading for Germany and the UK together with the much greater number of Hungarian emigrants.

        57,000 immigrants and refugees entered Hungary and left for the UK and Germany together with 600,000 Hungarians.

        This, together with the issue of death penalty is a serious diversionary tactic that causes inestimable damage to Hungary.
        (no more heart for you Lila)

        “It is a European issue. It’s not an issue of member states, it’s an issue of the whole European Union,” Verhofstadt said.

        “Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans also berated Orban for muddying the debate over plans for EU quotas for asylum seekers, adding that the EU was not pushing an “open-door” policy for immigrants.”

        “Don’t make a caricature of the plans of the commission, because we’re on the same page,” Timmermans said.”

        • The number of immigrants to Hungary is sharply declining due to the miserable economic state of Hungary, poverty. A all Hungary is nothing but a teetering house of card.

          You must be completely ignorant of the realities. Two-three years ago it was 2000; now in the first less than half year it is close to 60.000. Most of them will move on, but the Germans and Austrians have already started deporting them back by the thousands – guess where? To Hungary. And I do not even want to reflect on your delusions on the Hungarian economy. Check Orbanomics – The Economist.

  7. One more issue I’ve got a thing or two to tell about it. We have a cheap “purple” trumpery troll here who is trying to keep as many posters he can busy. He is pointless therefore he is provoking and is picking a fight as it doesn’t need brain doesn’t have to understand others’ posts, just go contaminating the site in order to discredit both, the posters and the site that accommodates squabbling posters. His posts are not of counter opinion but provocations, he is a nagware.

    Some years ago Francis Fukuyama published a piece “What’s Wrong with Hungary?” The site, the American Interest received an unprecedented troll attack over 700 or more posts in very short time. They were trolls like Liladiadal on payroll. The only difference was, they were more prepared and some of them were highly intelligent with excellent, distinguished English. But most of them were like our troll.

    Why I mention this, is because among the posts there was one written by pro journalist — he identified himself correctly. This was many years ago so unfortunately I cannot recall who he was but he was a self-described member of the International Federation of Journalist. He revealed an Internet Commando that was set up by Orban and worked for him as he suffers serous internet phobia and the internet and the posters scare him beyond reasonable level.

    He explained how it works, who controls it and gave enough information about it. I went back now and found that peace but it looks like either Mr.Fukuyama or the site moderators have cleared up that filth and reset the whole discussion board. Little wonder.

    I only wrote this note to signal that we know that trick.

  8. Correctly: have cleaned up

  9. One more correction: found that piece..

    My spellchecker sometimes takes control. Sorry.

  10. Avatar Charlie London says:

    The proposal is a shocking ‘unorthodox’ ‘Hungarian’ development.

    Shaming the whole nation and against EU values signed up to voluntarily.

    In England nothing ever gets reported about Hungary – but the 4m barbedwire fence has been all over the BBC radio news including the World Service.

    Look on the bright side?

    It might provide jobs to add to the miserable tally of failure – towards the one million jobs by 2020.

    And it keeps Liladiadel in.

  11. Finally the government starts acting wisely! I don’t agree on everything this government does, but building this fence is a very smart and right choice!

  12. The greatest immigration to Germany and the UK are the most highly educated Hungarian workers that are leaving Hungary in droves as economic refugees leaving Hungary without capable doctors, nurses, engineers and intellectuals.
    Now the iron curtain is being built while Orban showed neither willingness nor patience to cooperate with the EU to go for a more effective solution to disable the organized people-smuggler network.

    The 40% of the Hungarians live in poverty and seeing the iron curtain is being rebuilt I expect another wave of emigration to come as the Hungarians will recognize that they’d better leave the country fast before the doors are closed in all direction. Namely seeing Orban’s action, the refusal or the restriction on the Hungarian immigration quota is likely.

    An iron curtain is an iron curtain for whatever purpose they build it. It’s not a joke.

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