In the wake of the wave of mass gang sex attacks in every country that has made Merkel’s ‘refugees’ welcome, Hungary’s prime minister has called for the EU to establish a new frontier on the Greek border to stop the flood completely.
Viktor Orban said ending the influx of refugees would be ‘the decisive issue of 2016’.
He urged leaders to construct a ‘European defence line’ on Greece’s northern borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria or risk ‘losing the possibility of free movement’ within the Schengen zone.
Mr Orban said that ‘since no-one except us Hungarians protected their external Schengen borders, defenses, visa systems, border controls and fences are being created inside’ the passport-free area.
But his comments came as it emerged Italy was planning to decriminalise migrants entering the country without proper documents or overstaying their visa, a move some fear will encourage more to attempt the journey to Europe.
KTI delegation among those inspecting Hungary’s border fence
Measures will remain to send those who breach the rules back to their home country, as will prison terms for migrant smugglers.
Roberto Maroni, member of the right-wing Northern League, reacted angrily to the move, warning the country on Twitter to ‘prepare for an invasion’ of illegal immigrants.
‘Can they not see what’s happening in the world? It’s crazy!’ he wrote on Facebook, as hardline nationalists from Forza Nuova held dozens of local protest rallies all over the country.
In Hungary, Mr Orban has gained support with his tough stance on migration.
His government has put up fences on the country’s southern border to keep out migrants and asylum seekers, so Hungary’s Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany celebrations all went off peacefully and with no molestation of women.
The barriers initially drew criticism from his European Union partners, but several countries, such as Slovenia and Austria, have since raised barriers of their own.
Others have imposed checks within the EU’s border-free Schengen zone to cope with the flow.
‘I think the next line of defence that we need (is) to build up lines on the northern border of Greece,’ Orban told public radio in an interview.
He said Bulgaria, one of Greece’s northern neighbours, should be adopted into the Schengen zone, while Macedonia should be given financial help and other assistance to beef up its defences.
He said a recent agreement with Turkey would not be enough to stop hundreds of thousands of migrants from coming to Europe.
In October, the EU offered Turkey a possible €3billion ($3.26bn) in aid, the prospect of easier travel visas and renewed talks on Turkey’s joining the bloc, in return for its help stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.
‘It is nice that (Turkey) has promised that there would be a line of defence there, but we need to build one of our own from our own resources on the northern border of Greece and stop, not slow down, but stop migration,’ Orban said.
Orban said Germany, which welcomed a million migrants last year, has recently shifted towards ‘common sense’ to slow arrivals, but added that nothing short of stopping more people entering would resolve the issue.
More than 390,000 migrants passed through Hungary in 2015 on their way to Germany and other western EU destinations.
But hardly any entered after Hungary erected fences in September and October on its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia.