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Diplomatic standoff at the Hungarian-Austrian border

July 8th, 2016

As first Austria then Hungary reintroduce temporary border checks, a left-wing commentator fears that unless mutual trust is restored, borders in Europe will soon appear again.

On Monday, Austria imposed border checks at its borders with Hungary in order to stop undocumented migrants from Hungary and combat human trafficking. As a result, travellers from Hungary had to queue for several hours to cross the border. On Wednesday, Hungary also introduced border controls which caused long queues on the Austrian side. Austrian Minister of Interior Affairs Wolfgang Sobotka said that Hungary’s move was not justified. The Hungarian and the Austrian governments agreed to set up a committee to find a solution to the problem by next week.

In Népszabadság, Ferenc Hajba fears that the diplomatic friction at the Hungarian Austrian border indicates the weakening of inter-state trust and the growth of nationalist sentiments in the EU. The left-wing columnist thinks that the imposition of Austrian border checks and the retaliatory action by Hungary is the result of increased anti-immigrant sentiments in both countries, but the actual victims of border controls are the citizens of Austria and Hungary. Unless mutual trust and cooperation are restored, borders will reemerge within the European Union, Hajba suggests.

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