Hungary, a member of the European Union since 2004 and of the passport-free Schengen Area since 2007, has been an entry point for migrants, largely from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, at a rate of about 1,000 to 3,000 per day. CNN reports on an incident at the Serbian border today:
Dramatic scenes unfolded on the Hungarian-Serbian border Tuesday, as hundreds of frustrated migrants and refugees broke through police lines and ran from a holding area.
Some parents carried children on their shoulders, struggling to make their way across the rough ground near Roszke in Hungary.
As they ran across open corn and sunflower fields, police followed. But officers have not so far stopped any of the refugees.
The breakout happened suddenly and did not appear to be planned.
There were also reportedly scuffles between migrants, mostly headed for destinations in more prosperous Western Europe, and local police on Monday. The Hungarian government says it is holding the migrants as a matter of European Union procedure, so that they can be documented and registered.
The government believes more than 100,000 migrants have entered the country illegally so far this year. It announced it was building a fence along its 94-mile border with Serbia, Hungary says it is accelerating the construction of the fence, which was supposed to take a month to build.
According to the EU's "Dublin Regulation," the EU country at which a migrant first arrives must process the asylum application. About 34,000 migrants were "detected" entering Hungary in July. The European Commission sought to require EU countries to accept 40,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea within the next two years, receiving a voluntary pledge of 32,500 instead. The EU also plans on accepting 20,000 refugees currently in UN camps in the wider region.
There were more than 600,000 asylum applications to EU countries in 2014—nearly a quarter of them filed in Germany, which is bordered on all sides by other EU countries, and Switzerland. Sweden came in second, receiving nearly 100,000. Sweden offered permanent residency to Syrian refugees starting in late 2013. Germany approved 48,000 asylum applications in 2014 and Sweden approved 33,000. Asylum seekers must show they would face risk of harm or death if they returned to their home countries. The EU has been struggling to "harmonize" asylum policies in EU countries for several years.
There are more than 4 million registered refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria alone.