Hungary seals off its border with Serbia

Hungary's border fence - intended to keep out refugees arriving from Serbia - was completed on Sunday according to government sources. The fence is nothing but a domestic policy manoeuvre by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, some commentators write. Others believe that Hungary is above all harming its own interests with its policy of seclusion.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Orbán exploiting refugee crisis

Hungary's head of government Viktor Orbán is using the refugee crisis to introduce a new legislative package, erect a border fence and justify even more right-wing authoritarian policies, writes the centre-left daily Der Standard: "For Orbán, the wave of refugees passing through his country is not a social, police or European problem but an all-out war. 'Mass immigrants attack Hungary' - that is the tenor of the official propaganda. This state of war calls for a state of emergency. But Orbán will not only use the 'mass immigration emergency ' - as it is described in the legislative package - to torment the defenceless migrants even more but above all to further curtail his own citizens' democratic rights. The EU, with its subdued reaction to Orbán's undermining of democracy so far, is also responsible for Orbán's spine-chilling behaviour. The lack of a refugee and migration policy is giving the Hungarian autocrat free rein to do as he chooses."

Szuverén (HU) /

Sealing itself off is bad for Hungary

Neurotic and self-absorbed Hungary has isolated itself even more from the rest of the world by building a border fence to fend off refugees, writes blogger Domonkos Sik on blog portal Szuverén: "Such an act of all-round defence is counter-productive in a globalised world. By sealing itself off Hungary has distorted its own identity, fuelled by historical injustices, a victim mentality, exploitation and insatiable demands. Then there is ignorance and a lack of understanding of the world beyond its own borders. Such a collective identity not only manifests itself in a social neurosis but also reduces the individual's political and economic room for manoeuvre: the politicians lose their ability to give the country goals that go beyond material reproduction. The economy, meanwhile, loses its potential for innovation."

Le Monde (FR) /

Eastern Europe must learn to show solidarity

The tendency of Eastern European states like Hungary to want to seal themselves off rather than take in refugees derives from the history of the region, the centre-left daily Le Monde believes: "The violence of the immigrant crisis has revealed several hidden truths to the countries of Eastern Europe. From Nazism and then from Stalinism they inherited either an ethnic and religious homogeneity that is fundamentally different from Western European multiculturalism or a conflictual attitude to the minorities that were thrust upon them. ... And they still haven't been able to come to terms with this legacy. Although joining the EU gave them access to hundreds of billions of euros from the Cohesion Fund, they have yet to grasp that solidarity is never a one-way street. The time has come for them to show that they share Europe's values. Will this rude awakening be salutary? That is the real test Europe faces."