The metal and barbed wire fence in southern Hungary, on the border with Serbia. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/DRAGAN PETROVIC
The metal and barbed wire fence in southern Hungary, on the border with Serbia. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/DRAGAN PETROVIC

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised Serbia for having accepted a border barrier between the two countries. The Hungarian government erected the barrier to stem the continual flow of unauthorized migrants into Hungary, and Orban said Serbia also benefits.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised Serbia for having accepted Budapest's decision to erect a barrier at its border to stem the continuous flow of unauthorized migrants. Orban spoke to journalists on Monday in Subotica, in northern Serbia at the Hungarian border, following a joint session of the governments of the two countries. He said Serbia understood that it also benefits from the barrier at the border because while migrants can't enter Hungary, less will also arrive in Serbia. 


Barrier a "shared success" 

"What's good for Hungary is also good for Serbia. It's a shared success of Serbian and Hungarian migratory policy," the conservative prime minister said. He said now that the EU is much less threatened by the migratory influx from the Balkans through Hungary, it is much more threatened by arrivals from North Africa. 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic highlighted the humane and responsible approach by her country during the most critical phase of the migrant emergency along the Balkan route in 2015 and 2016. She affirmed that a unified EU policy is necessary in terms of migrants. She specified that currently there are about 3,500 migrants in Serbia, who however don't intend to remain in the country and want to reach Western Europe. 

Desire to intensify relations 

In their meeting, Orban and Brnabic reaffirmed their desire to intensify economic and commercial collaboration, including with the opening of new border crossings. At the same time, Orban hoped for Serbia's rapid integration into the EU, which he said he believes is in everyone's best interests. 

"If Serbia doesn't join the EU, that reflects on the countries in the region," he said, underlining the important role that Serbia has as a factor for regional stability. "When there is political stability there is also economic growth," he said.
 

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