Hungary, Austria and Serbia agree new deal to stem illegal migration

Hungary, Austria and Serbia agree new deal to stem illegal migration
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Hungary, Austria and Serbia have agreed to coordinate to reduce the flow of illegal migrants on the Balkan route, with Serbia deploying more police along its southern border and Austria providing reinforcements.

The three countries reached an agreement this week, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announcing he had signed an agreement with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer that will increase the number of police officers on Serbia’s southern border. .

Chancellor Nehammer also said that Austria would provide around 100 police officers to help Serbia patrol its border and that border forces would be equipped with various forms of surveillance equipment, including drones, thermal vision cameras and vehicles, the InfoMigrants website funded by the European Union. reports.

Prime Minister Orban, meanwhile, said Hungary had prevented at least 250,000 attempts to illegally cross its border with Serbia this year, revealing that armed smugglers were organizing along the border with Serbia in a situation he described as “difficult”.

President Vucic of Serbia added that his country would abolish visa-free travel for Tunisian and Burundian nationals – a measure which has been urged by the European Union to tackle the number of migrants using visa-free access to enter the country from the Balkans, which unlike Austria and Hungary, is not an EU member state, then tries to enter the EU to seek asylum.

So far this year, the number of migrants who have taken the Balkan route to enter the EU illegally has increased by 1,689% compared to the first ten months of 2021, the EU border agency Frontex reporting over 22,300 detections of illegal border crossings in October alone.

“So far this year, the Western Balkan region has recorded the highest number of detections since the peak of the migration crisis in 2015. The high number of crossings can be attributed to repeated attempts to cross the border by migrants already present in the Western Balkans. , but also to people abusing visa-free access to the region,” the agency said.

This week’s meeting between the three central European countries comes after an initial meeting last month in Budapest in which they agreed to strengthen and expand the border barrier along Hungary’s border with Serbia.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail at ctomlinson(at)

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