The Hungarian government’s plan to close the border with Serbia and erect a four-metre-high fence along their shared border to keep out migrants has drawn sharp reaction from Belgrade.
“I am surprised and shocked. We will discuss this decision with our Hungarian colleagues,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday while speaking on RTS state television during a visit to Oslo.
“Building walls is not the solution. Serbia can’t be responsible for the situation created by the migrants, we are just a transit country. Is Serbia responsible for the crisis in Syria?” Vucic said.
The prime minister asked whether Serbia should “in turn build walls [on its frontiers with] Macedonia and Bulgaria”, which migrants travelling overland cross before reaching the Balkan state.
“Serbia will not build walls, it will not isolate itself, I do not understand this decision and I intend to talk about the issue with our European Union partners,” he said.
The Hungarian authorities announced on Wednesday they planned to build a barrier that will run all the way along the 175km border with Serbia.
Some 54,000 refugees have entered Hungary since January, a sharp rise from the 2,000 who entered the central European state in 2012.
Relative to its population, the latest figures mean Hungary has received the second-highest number of refugees in Europe this year after Sweden.
Authorities say 95 percent cross over into Hungary via the frontier with Serbia, which is not an European Union member.
Some 75 percent of refugees arriving in Hungary are fleeing war in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, France has said that it will find accommodation for more than 10,000 asylum seekers as part of a plan to help deal with the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.