Serbia should be prepared to further tighten border security, President Tomislav Nikolic said on Monday, in a sign regional leaders have been emboldened by Hungary’s defiant line on migration. Serbia should act even if it risks incurring the wrath of the European Union, which it is seeking to join, Nikolic said.
Along with other southeast European countries, Serbia has intensified border patrols against hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa, cooperating with European efforts to channel flows through the Balkans. But with Hungary’s border all but fully sealed, growing numbers of refugees are trapped in Serbia with no way of continuing towards the wealthier countries of northern Europe that most hope to reach.
Watch what else is making news:
- Varun Gandhi Under Attack Over Defence Deals: Here’s How
- This Diwali, Let Blind Students Brighten Up your Homes With Candles & Diyas
- CBI Files Supplementary Chargesheet In Sheena Bora Murder Case
- Soha Ali Khan And Vir Das Starrer 31st October Audience Reaction
- Sahara Chief Subrata Roy’s Parole Extended Till November 28
- Simple Tips To Secure Your Debit Card From Fraudsters
- New Zealand & India Team Being Welcomed In Chandigarh
- Mumbai Call Centre Scam: All You Need To Know
- Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Appeals To Police: Here’s What She Said
- Shocker From Ahmedabad: Find Out What Happened
- Bigg Boss 10 Day 3 Review: Celebs Fail To Do Well in First Task
- Airtel Offers 10GB Data At Rs 259 For New 4G Smartphone Users
- Aamir Khan Starrer Dangal’s Trailer Launched: First Impressions
- TMC Supporters Attack BJP Leader Babul Supriyo
- Sri Lankan Navy Apprehends 20 Indian Fishermen
“If Serbia becomes a funnel from which water cannot drain because others further along have shut their own borders, Serbia must shut down its own (borders) regardless of its convictions,” Nikolic said, according to Tanjug agency. Since July, the number of migrants stranded in Serbia has risen by 3,000, and tensions are rising in refugee camps.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he would amend the constitution to ensure the European Union cannot settle migrants in Hungary after a referendum on Sunday. While almost all Hungarians who voted on Sunday rejected the EU’s migrant quotas, turnout was too low to make the poll valid.
“If Hungary did not anger the EU, Serbia will surely not,” Nikolic said.
In August, Orban announced plans to build a second fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia to keep migrants out. Though his powers are mainly ceremonial, Nikolic is a close ally of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, both of whom are former radical nationalists who went on to found the ruling centre-right Serbian Progressive Party.
Last year, hundreds of thousands passed through Serbia heading to the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone. Numbers are lower this year but more than 100,000 migrants have reached the Balkans so far in 2016. Serbia is an EU membership candidate, but before it joins the bloc it must reform its judiciary, rule of law and economy.