Budapest (AFP) – Hungarian soldiers on Monday began erecting a controversial fence on the border with Serbia which is aimed at keeping out migrants.
"Works have begun on the construction of a section of the temporary border control fence," said a joint statement from the ministries of interior & defence.
The first fence section is being built on the outskirts of Morahalom, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of Budapest & will run to 150 metres (almost 500 feet), it said.
p>Lawmakers last week approved the building of the four-metre high barrier along the 175-kilometre border with Serbia, which unlike Hungary is not an EU member.
The plan announced by populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government last month triggered concern both in Serbia & the European Union, which is struggling to control a massive influx of migrants from the Middle East & Africa.
Over the last two years, Hungary has been one of the main routes for people hoping to cross into Austria & Germany, most coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria & Kosovo.
Hungary is in the EU's passport-free Schengen zone which means that once migrants are inside the country, they can travel freely elsewhere.
So far in 2015, Hungarian authorities have registered 78,190 migrants crossing its border illegally, approximately 77,600 of whom have entered from Serbia.