A car carrying at least ten migrants crashed into a house in Hungary late on Monday. Reports say that seven people died and four are injured, including the driver of the car, who has been arrested by police.
The car carrying the migrants is reported to have a Serbian licence plate. Towards midnight on Monday, December 13, the driver reportedly saw that police were stopping cars in the village of Morahalom, not far from the Serbian border.
After police tried to stop the car, the Hungarian news agency MTI reported that the driver sped away, crashing into a house and rolling over. In a video of the aftermath of the crash, bits of debris from the car, including the whole of its front bumper, can be seen on the road.
According to the news agencies Reuters and Associated Press, the car is thought to have been headed for the Hungarian town of Szeged, about 20 kilometers east of Morahalom, and also not far from the Serbian and Romanian borders.
Police have now detained the driver and legal proceedings against him will be launched, Reuters reports. He is expected to be accused of people trafficking and "causing a mass fatal accident." The nationalities of the driver and passengers have not been reported.
Last week alone, according to data published by the Hungarian police, 2,419 people were stopped at Hungary’s borders, Reuters reports. In August this year, the online news website which gathers stories about the Schengen Visa zone – schengenvisainfo.com – said that Hungary had already stopped 54,000 migrants from crossing its borders since the beginning of the year.
Quoting the Chief Security Advisor György Bakondi, Schengenvisainfo said the country had also prosecuted "over 500 smugglers." Bakondi told Schengenvisainfo that there had been a huge increase in the numbers of those trying to cross into Hungary in 2021 compared with figures in 2020, when a total of 17,000 migrants were stopped by police and 200 smugglers were prosecuted.
Migration to the EU
On Monday, December 13, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The two leaders covered a range of subjects ahead of an EU summit later this week, including migration.
Hungary has been heavily criticized within the EU for its hardline stance on migrants. Human rights organizations like the Hungarian Helsinki Committee have repeatedly highlighted in the courts how Hungary is ignoring international and European human rights legislation and making it difficult, if not impossible, to apply for asylum in the country.
The Hungarian police regularly publish figures on the numbers of pushbacks they have made to neighboring Serbia. However, as France prepares to take over the rotating presidency of the EU in January, according to the news agency AP, President Macron said that, "although there had been tensions in the past," he hoped all countries in the bloc could find common ground on the issue of migration.
"I think what we have been through in Europe in recent weeks...is allowing us to reconsider a common organization to better prevent migrant flows, protect our [European] external borders and be able to find the ways and means of a more efficient cooperation between Europeans," President Macron said.
With Reuters and AP