Hungary minister quits amid migrant fence delay

Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende has resigned amid delays in the construction of a border fence meant to keep out migrants.

A statement Monday from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government didn’t explicitly blame him for the failure to complete the building of a 4-meter (13-foot) fence along Hungary’s 175-kilometer (110-mile) border with Serbia, but it was supposed to be completed last month and remains largely incomplete.

Only several strands of razor wire have been placed along the full length of the border, while the higher barrier is standing only in a few areas. The fence was initially meant to be built by the end of November but in July, Orban set an Aug. 31 deadline. “Any other time is null and void,” Orban said on July 25.

The fence is being built by soldiers with assistance from people in state work programs, while some of the materials, including the steel posts, are being prepared at factories by prison inmates.

Hende will be replaced by Istvan Simicsko, currently the state secretary for sports.