Serbia will partially rely on Hungarian police forces, regarding the protection of its border with Bulgaria. In Belgrade, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vukic said, “any help in terms of technical assets and manpower is welcome”. At a press conference with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Vukic said, an existing agreement to deploy Hungarian police officers to Serbia’s border with Macedonia would be extended to the Bulgarian border.
According to Serbian media, Vucic said, by now most refugees were “economic migrants from Afghanistan, which has resulted in an atmosphere different from the one we had at the onset of the crisis.” He also stated, the costs related to refugees were much higher than the funds provided to Serbia by the European Union.
Vucic’s Hungarian guest Viktor Orban, a right-wing populist radically opposed to immigration, repeated hardliner statements from before. He said, Hungary wanted “to remain Hungarian, to keep our religious and ethnic composition.” A planned referendum on refugees in Hungary would help bring that message across in Brussels, he stated.
Referring to the upcoming fall with a rougher Mediterranean Sea, Orban said, the number of refugees might very well swell to last year’s high numbers again. “We have no reason to believe the same won’t happen this year”, he told the press in Belgrade.
Last fall, NGOs and some western governments had criticized the Orban government harshly, for a bad treatment of refugees in Hungary, and his radical anti-immigration policies. A year ago, thousands of refugees per day had taken the so-called Balkan Route, from Turkey and Greece via Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia, into Hungary and Slovenia, and finally towards Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and France.
By Imanuel Marcus