Solidarity at the Border: The organization of spontaneous support for transiting refugees in two Hungarian towns in the summer of 2015

April 4, 2017

A new working paper has been published by CPS researchers focusing on how communities and administrations at the sub-national level responded to the huge number of refugees and migants arriving to Hungary in 2015.

Authors: Sara Svensson, Andrew Cartwright and Peter Balogh

With most refugees and migrants from the Middle East and South Central Asia choosing the Balkan route rather than the riskier and more expensive Mediterranean route, the first EU Member State that they reached was Hungary. In 2015 alone, Hungary registered 177,135 asylum seekers, with another estimated and unregistered 60,000-70,000 people passing through its territory towards the west.

Whereas state authorities received much international attention and criticism for their approach, not least the portrayal of migrants as potential threats or as violent and undeserving of humanitarian assistance, this paper focuses on how communities and administrations at the sub-national level responded. We do this through case studies of two non-governmental, informal initiatives that organized humanitarian assistance in two southern Hungarian border towns, Szeged and Pécs. These actions were joined to the national-level organization MigSzol and became known as MigSzol Szeged and MigSzol Pécs.