To stem the flow of refugees from the Middle East, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has appealed to Macedonia to construct a razor-wire fence along its border with Bulgaria. This move would cut off Greece from the rest of Europe.
Greece, which has a struggling economy, is the European entry point of Syrian and Iraqi migrants traveling through Turkish ports. Eastern European nations such as Hungary have been opposed to accepting any Muslim migrants, according to The Associated Press.
On Feb. 15, during a meeting of the Visegrad group in Prague, Orban called the refugees “a horde of evil,” according to Breitbart.
The Hungarian prime minister then criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her country’s welcoming attitude towards refugees.
“The German welcome policy has not only failed, but has created terrorism and stoked fear,” Orban said.
The Visegrad group is a collection of Eastern European nations that includes Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The members have been at odds with Western European nations, whose leaders resent the formerly Soviet Union-controlled countries for refusing to accept migrants, AP reports.
After the fall of the USSR, the European Union welcomed the Visegrad group and provided the nations with economic stability. Now, leaders such as Merkel have accused the Eastern European nations of being hypocritical by refusing to accept their share of refugees.
Now Orban has proposed helping Macedonia -- which is not part of the EU -- to build a wall along its border with Greece. This would cut off the overwhelmed country from the rest of the Schengen zone, the EU’s region that allows Europeans to travel freely without a passport.
“If it were up only to us Central Europeans, that region would have been closed off long ago,” Orban said. “Not for the first time in history we see that Europe is defenseless from the south … that is where we must ensure the safety of the continent.”
Earlier on Feb. 15, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas issued a statement deriding Orban’s proposal.
“We don’t think that closing borders is the [correct] response," Schinas said. “We prefer managing borders. The European response to the refugee crisis will be done with Greece, not against Greece.”
Merkel has slammed the plan to have Macedonia build a fence, according to the Greek Reporter.
Merkel’s statement said:
“To raise a protective fence in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which is not even a member of the EU, without taking into account what emergency situation it would cause to Greece, it would not be simply non-European behavior, but it will not solve our problems.”