Hungary will seal its border with Croatia from midnight on Friday to stem the influx of refugees, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Budapest after a meeting of the national security council.
"This is the second best option," Szijjarto told reporters. "The best option, setting up an EU force to defend Greece’s external borders, was rejected in Brussels yesterday."
An EU summit on Thursday failed to reach a final agreement on recruiting Turkey to help control the flow of refugees, as Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria threatens to push more people to seek safety. The bloc’s leaders also made little progress on how to redesign the system of distributing immigrants, forming an EU border guard corps or on ensuring arrivals are properly processed.
Hungary has extended an existing barbed-wire fence on its border with Serbia to cover its frontier with Croatia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned this week that his government would complete the barrier if European Union leaders fail to agree on closing the Greek border, the main entry point for Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees into the 28-nation bloc.
More than 380,000 asylum seekers have crossed into Hungary from the western Balkans this year and the number may reach 700,000 by the end of 2015, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told reporters in Budapest on Friday.