AP

Hungary, Austria and Serbia work together to stem migration

Oct 3, 2022, 8:43 AM | Updated: 9:15 am

BERLIN (AP) — The leaders of Hungary, Austria and Serbia met Monday in Budapest to find solutions on how to stem the increasing number of migrants arriving in Europe, among them many young men from India.

The three leaders agreed to take joint action to control the new arrivals along the migration route that leads through Serbia.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters after the meeting that the joint action plan would include increased police cooperation along the borders as well as supporting Serbia when it comes to deporting migrants back to their home countries.

“We will directly support Serbia to carry out repatriations and not only support technical know-how, but also do everything possible that is necessary, and financially support them,” Nehammer said.

The Austrian chancellor lauded Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s announcement that by the end of the year Serbia would align its visa policies with the European Union — Serbia is an EU candidate country but not a member yet — so that the visa-free regime with some non-EU countries is no longer used for migration purposes.

“We will thus prevent the situation when someone uses Serbia as a country of arrival but not because of their real needs but for illegal migration toward the west,” Vucic said.

Hungarian President Viktor Orban called for an overall political change in how to approach migration and suggested so-called hot spot centers outside the European Union where asylum-seeker requests should be processed. He added that “we are not satisfied at all with the situation that has developed.”

That procedure would, however, undermine the national laws of some European countries, among them Germany, which has enshrined in its constitution every foreigner’s right to apply for political asylum and have his or her request individually checked while staying in the country.

Among the migrants recently detained in Austria who have applied for asylum to avoid immediate deportation, Indians accounted for the biggest group in September, according government data.

Indians are not allowed to enter the EU without a visa but have taken advantage of being able to travel to Serbia which they can enter without a visa. From there, many are trying to reach Western European countries with the help of traffickers.

Monday’s meeting in the Hungarian capital came after announcements by the Czech Republic and Austria last week that they would launch temporary border controls at their crossings with Slovakia to stop migrants from entering.

In addition to the meeting in Budapest, the interior ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia called on the European Union on Monday to better protect the outer borders to curb the latest increase of migration.

“We’re facing problems that affect the entire Europe,” said Vit Rakusan, the interior minister of the Czech Republic.

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Jovana Gec reported from Belgrade, Serbia. Bela Szandelzsky in Budapest, Hungary, and Karel Janicek in Prague, contributed to this report.

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Follow all AP stories on migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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Hungary, Austria and Serbia work together to stem migration