* Romania. A surge in migrants crossing Romania towards Western Europe may delay Bucharest’s plans to join the Schengen area. Will Hungary be forced to built another fence?
** Over 4,000 people have crossed the border into Romania so far in 2017, three times the number in 2016.
EU President Jean-Claude Juncker called for Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted to the Schengen area in September. However, three countries – Austria, Germany and the Netherlands – have opposed the move. For obvious reasons, we understand their reluctance.
After a visit to Romania in October, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, said Budapest would rather help Romania protect its eastern border than build another fence on the Romanian-Hungarian border.
“Sooner or later, we will need effective protection of Romania’s eastern border, or else Romania will be overwhelmed by migrants and we will be forced to build a fence. We definitely want to avoid that,” Orban said.
*** The V4 Report would agree with the instincts of Viktor Orban. It is much safer and more efficient to deny entry at the source rather than to try to find and deport the illegal migrants after they have entered Europe.
However, Hungary may not have a choice unless the government of Romania cooperates. Recently, migrants from the Middle East and Central Asia have flocked to Romania as an alternative to try to reach Western Europe. Hungary, Macedonia and others closed off the Western Balkan route at the beginning of 2016.
Some of the migrant activity in Romania during the month of October:
– Romanian border police have been reporting at least two or three groups of migrants every day trying to cross from Bulgaria and Serbia on their way to Hungary.
– Two Iranians were detained at Bucharest airport trying to enter Romania with fake passports.
– 12 Iraqi migrants were caught trying to walk into Hungary after they had crossed the Danube from Bulgaria. The Romanian authorities tried to return them to Bulgaria – under the terms of an EU agreement – but Sofia refused to accept them. The same night, a family of five Iraqi migrants in Romania tried to cross into Hungary using fake Hungarian passports.
**** Sooner or later, Europe will have to realize that Schengen is not possible without securing the external borders. However, there may be a problem.
We are not confident that the leaders of Brussels or the international media understand the true definition of a “secured border”. Nor do we believe the EU would be willing to “do what it takes” to secure the borders, which involves much more than sending money to some leader in Niger or Chad.