Europe

Hungary sends police to deter migrants on Serbia border

A policeman escorts migrants on the Hungarian-Serbian border in Asotthalom, Hungary on 13 August 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hungary says it has been forced to act because of EU inaction on the migrant crisis

Hungary says it will send thousands of police officers to its southern border with Serbia in its latest step to stem the flow of migrants.

Prime ministerial spokesman Janos Lazar said "increasingly aggressive" migrants had prompted the move.

Hungary's right-wing populist government has been criticised by the UN and Serbia for radical steps such as building a fence along the border.

But it says the EU's failure to act on migration is the real problem.

Hungary's southern border marks the edge of the EU's Schengen zone of passport-free travel and is thus a target for migrants seeking to enter the EU.

Hungary has registered more than 100,000 asylum seekers this year - compared with 43,000 in the whole of 2014.

Several thousand police will now "defend" the 3.5m (11.5ft) fence being built along Hungary's 175km (109-mile) border with Serbia, Mr Lazar told reporters.

Hungary is also planning to toughen the penal code to make illegal border crossings and damaging the border fence punishable by up to four years in jail.

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