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Migrants clash with Hungarian border police

September 18th, 2015

Hungary has been sharply criticised by Serbian, Romanian and German politicians for authorising the use of teargas and water cannons against a group of migrants who attempted to break through its closed border crossing. Commentators assess the potential international consequences.

In a front-page editorial, Népszabadság admits that the sight of ferocious migrants throwing stones at the Hungarian police may have convinced much of the public that the government was right not to let them in. Nevertheless, the left-wing daily believes that such a communication victory for the government side may prove to be a diplomatic defeat. Hungary has only deflected the flow of migrants towards Croatia, rather than defending Europe from it and meanwhile it has acquired yet more enemies.

In Magyar Nemzet, Csaba Lukács thinks that Hungary and its police acted in self-defence against a mob attacking it with stones while shouting ‘Allah Akbar’, and thus international criticism has been to a great extent misguided. He believes, however, that Hungarian diplomacy should have been able to better sell the government’s policy. Hungary is right in many respects, he believes, but all to no avail if it is unable to credibly represent its position to the world.