EU migration head says “times are testing the Union”

(REUTERS) – The European Union’s migration commissioner said on Thursday (September 17) that barriers of the kind that Hungary had erected on its Serbian border were temporary solutions that only diverted refugees and migrants to other countries and escalated tensions.

Hungary on Wednesday detained 29 people as migrants demanding to be let through its newly-shut EU frontier clashed with riot police firing water cannon and tear gas.

EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos said the migration crisis was testing the European Union.

“Passing now the refugees problem from one country to another is not the solution. The times are testing the Union, are testing our Union and it is up to us in a collective way to show our resilience. The European Union, as I said at the beginning is here to help and support Hungary,” he told a joint news conference with Hungary’s foreign and interior ministers.

“Well walls are temporary solutions, you have seen yourself that this only serves to divert flows or escalate tensions and I think you all agree with me that violence is not the solution either. The majority of people arriving in Europe are Syrians, they are people in genuine need of our protection. There is no wall you would not climb, no sea you wouldn’t cross if you were fleeing violence and terror. I believe we have a moral duty to offer them protection, it is a duty inscribed in international and European laws,” he added.

Hungary is planning to extend its security fence towards Romania and parts of the Croatian border in a measure that it says is necessary to protect the European Union’s external frontier and its border-free Schengen zone.