Tensions escalate between Hungary and Croatia

  • By Thanos Halkias

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, despite being internationally condemned for violations of international law, for his country’s inhumane and violent treatment of refugees as well as for cross border attacks in Serbia has taken a very public podium to lay verbal assault against the Croatian government.

The fence guarded by armoured vehicles, that Hungary has build to separate itself from the Balkans.

The fence guarded by armored vehicles, that Hungary has build to separate itself from the Balkans.

Far right Mr. Orban has called his Croatian counterparts “a leftist mouth piece tasked with attacking Hungary” and “an envoy of the Socialist International, whose members believed the current influx of ‘migrants’ was a good thing”

Hungary who’s fascist roots and current far right government have long been at loggerheads with the Islamic and left wing Balkan states, completed a 175km long reinforced, guarded, razor topped fence separating it from Serbia in September. Hungary is now mid construction building a similar fence along it’s border with Croatia, who although Balkan is an EU member. Hungary has physically made very clear that in breach of international laws or not it will not help those in need, not tolerate diversity nor accept refugees.

Thousands of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa fleeing conflict zones that many European nations helped to create, as well as a smaller number of opportunist migrants from around the world have been landing in the Balkans over the past few months looking to pass through Hungary to move into the EU and eventually move on to Germany and Northern Europe.

Last month the 28 EU nations agreed plans to relocate 120’000 refugees from Hungary, Italy and Greece,

Heavily armored Hungarian police.

Heavily armored Hungarian police.

Zoran Milanović, Croatian Prime Minister is quoted as replying to Mr. Orban’s actions and remarks:

“There is no point in talking about closing the border. You cannot close it, if Hungary wishes to roll out more rolls of barbed wire, then so be it. People are always able to circumvent it.”

One of the main difficulties in the recent refugee crisis has been trying to distinguish between tens of thousands of suffering refugees and the few opportunist migrants trying to pass as one of them. One such migrant family contacted The International recently complaining that the German government were not accepting them as refugees and therefore not giving them a state-funded home (Council House), they described being totally abandoned by the German government and being left with nowhere to go. After some investigations The International discovered that this family were indeed not refugees. The family was from Albania, the only reason they could give for leaving the country was that they had a land dispute with their neighbour which led to a small gun fight in their garden. This is clearly a matter for the Albanian police and nothing to do with a genuine refugee crisis caused by horrific war.

Whilst some are blaming the opportunist migrants for slowing down the progress of the refugees, it certainly does not feel fair to simply pass on the blame in such a manner. A clear lack of union in the European Union over any actionable plans, clear cracks and divides showing between left and right wing neighbours and in some countries such as Slovakia (who’s government refused to assist Muslim refugees completely, preferring only to offer help only to Christians) for instance what can only be described as open fascism.

Migrants do, more often than not have the right and the means to live in another country. Every year vast numbers of British citizens relocate to Spain for instance, however, there is an official procedure that needs to be followed in order to do this.

Refugees on the other hand, have no choice they are forced from their homes by war and/or persecution. Refugees can not wait to to go through a lengthy bureaucratic system as their very lives are at risk.

Some see the irony of far right Hungary complaining about Croatia’s ‘left-wing stance’ to immigration and humanitarian assistance. Given that Croatia has a long history of right wing activities including fascist atrocities during World War 2 and Genocide and Ethnic cleansing during the 1990’s Yugoslav wars.

However many are seeing this as a new Croatia, a more tolerant Croatia.

After all the EU was formed to prevent further war in Europe in the aftermath of the 1940’s, so shouldn’t tolerance and diversity be at the very heart of what the EU stands for?

Hungarian Police

Hungarian Police

Hungarian Police, appearing to be more equip for a war zone than offering humanitarian aid.

Hungarian Police, appearing to be more equip for a war zone than offering humanitarian aid.

 

T.Halkias@theinternational.org.uk