Diplomatic relations between Austria and Hungary are strengthening as they seek to mitigate a worsening migration crisis that could see new policies implemented by Germany.
Austria has announced it is prepared to increase border security, especially along its southern boundary, as Germany is expected to begin returning rejected ‘asylum seekers’ to Austria as part of an agreement reached Monday by Germany’s governing coalition.
“We will be obliged to take measures to avoid disadvantages for Austria and its people,” Austria said in a statement signed by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. “We are now waiting for a rapid clarification of the German position at a federal level.”
“German considerations prove once again the importance of a common European protection of the external borders.”
Chancellor Kurz and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán have agreed “that Hungary will not conclude any bilateral agreement on migrants with Germany until such an agreement is reached between Austria and Germany,” according to a statement released by the Hungarian government.
Additionally, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó has shared “alarming news” that migrant pressure in the Balkans has already reached and “at times exceeded” levels seen in 2015, when hundreds of thousands of migrants poured into Hungary and Europe via the Balkan Peninsula.
“In some instances the situation in Greece seems to be worse than it was in 2015,” Szijjártó said.
Hungary is offering assistance to Montenegro in the construction of a border fence at the Albanian border, asserting that it is in the best interests of EU member states to defend the frontier of the bloc and beyond.
The head of Austria’s Directorate For Migration recently warned that migrants are following a new passage through the Balkan Peninsula referred to by some as the “mosque route.”
He reports that migrants are being assisted in their journey north by a network of mosques in Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are offering them aid and shelter as they make their way towards Croatia and the greater EU.
(PHOTO: ROLAND SCHLAGER / APA / AFP)