Refugee influx tests 'fortress EU'

Refugees walk along rail tracks near the southern Hungarian village of Roszke after crossing the border from Serbia.
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

ROSZKE, Hungary - Waves of refugees from the Middle East and Africa are rocking the foundations of the European Union, creating a split between richer countries and eastern European nations.

A failure to get on top of things could jeopardize freedom of movement within the EU's borders, a key principle of the union.

Epic challenge

The refugee crisis facing Europe is generation defining. Some estimates suggest that the total number of people applying for asylum in the region this year could reach as high as 2 million.

Hungary has taken the brunt of the influx of refugees; it serves as the eastern gateway to the EU. With the number of people crossing into its borders each day rising to 1,000 to 2,000 recently, the country has received more than 150,000 refugees so far this year.

The village of Roszke near the Serbian boarder has become an unlikely front line of the refugee crisis. Railway tracks and service roads connecting Hungary with Serbia run near it. Syrians dominate the wave of human traffic, but people from Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon are also among the refugees. People are fleeing civil wars and the brutal rule of the Islamic State group.

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