Migrants trying to reach western EU countries through Hungary as they gather in front of a fence on the Serbian side of the border between Serbia and Hungary | PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/EDVARD MOLNAR HUNGARY OUT
Migrants trying to reach western EU countries through Hungary as they gather in front of a fence on the Serbian side of the border between Serbia and Hungary | PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/EDVARD MOLNAR HUNGARY OUT

Hungary has announced that it is suspending the admission of migrants to its so-called 'transit zones', claiming there is a connection between coronavirus and illegal immigration. A chief security advisor to the Hungarian prime minister on March 1 said the country will "defend its borders" and "not a single illegal migrant" will be allowed to enter.

Hungary is suspending the admission of migrants to its so-called 'transit zones', as ''there is a connection between the coronavirus and illegal migration,'' Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Gyoergy Bakondi announced on March 1. 


The only way for migrants and asylum seekers to cross legally into Hungary from Serbia is through one of the transit zones created by Hungarian authorities at the border between Serbia and Hungary. 

According to Bakondi, the majority of migrants currently arriving in Hungary are from Iran or passed through Iran. As Iran is one of the epicenters of the coronavirus infection, Hungary has decided to suspend the admission of new persons to the transit zones indefinitely ''for the safety of the 321 refugees in the transit zone'' and of the country, the government said. WHO data show that no coronavirus case was detected in Hungary as of March 1. 

'Not a single illegal migrant will enter' 

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on March 2 said that ''Hungary will defend its borders and we will not allow a single illegal migrant to enter our country'', speaking about the migrant crisis at the border between Turkey and Greece during a meeting in Belgrade with the minister for European integration, Jadranka Joksimovic. 

The minister expressed great concern for the emergency at Turkey's border with Greece and the real possibility of new mass arrivals along the Balkan route. He said that ''over the coming weeks'' up to "100,000 migrants could arrive in Europe."

Hungary willing to help 

Serbia Szijjarto expressed the wish for "collaboration with Serbia for the defense of our two countries." The Hungarian minister also stressed Budapest's full support for Serbia's European integration. Belgrade, he said, is ready to open five negotiating chapters with the Union and the Croatian presidency should do everything in its power to favor the opening of as many chapters as possible. 

Szijjarto also spoke about the migrant crisis with Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, expressing Hungary's willingness to help Serbia in case of problems on its southern border.
 

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