Sunday

21st Jan 2018

Orban: Migrant crisis is Germany's problem

  • Orban (l) will meet Juncker later in the day (Photo: European Parliament)

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, on Thursday (4 September), defended his handling of the migrant crisis by heaping responsibility on Germany.

“It’s not a European problem, it’s a German problem”, he told press after meeting with European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, a German socialist, in Brussels.

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Orban said Hungary is doing its job under EU law, which says border control is a national competence and that asylum seekers must be registered in their EU point-of-entry.

“Nobody would like to stay in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, or Estonia. All of them would like to go to Germany. And if the German chancellor insists that nobody can leave Hungary without registering, we will do that”, he noted.

Hungary has seen 150,400 people arrive over the border from Serbia so far this year, breaking all records.

Orban’s statement comes after the EU criticised him for building a 170-km razor wire fence on the Serbian boundary.

It also comes amid an unfolding problem in the heart of Budapest.

Hungarian authorities at first allowed migrants to go by train to Austria and Germany, prompting extra criticism from its neighbours.

It then blocked the train station, prompting migrant protests, before again letting registered migrants travel.

Please don’t come!

Orban added that Hungary doesn’t support a quota system of distributing people around Europe.

According to media reports, the European Commission is to propose relocating 160,000 asylum-seekers around the bloc.

Its previous figure was 40,000, from Greece and Italy only. The bigger number is to include Hungary also.

"We don't like the quota approach", Orban said.

He noted that border control should be an EU priority, with the Schengen passport-free travel zone already coming under threat.

He also said the EU talk on quotas is in itself encouraging migrants to come to Europe.

“The moral and human thing is to make clear, please don’t come! Turkey is a safe country, stay there!”, Orban said.

He blamed European leaders for not coping with the unprecedented wave of refugees.

Fear

"People in Europe are full of fear because they see that the European leaders, among them the prime ministers, are not able to control the situation”, he said.

But Schulz, for his part, defended Europe’s common approach.

“What we’re seeing here is egoism instead of European common sense”, he said.

Orban will, later on Thursday, also meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU commission president, to discuss migration policy, as well as a set of amendments to Hungary’s migration laws which, critics say, curb individual freedoms.

Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest

Hungary's decision to block migrants from going to Germany has prompted chaotic scenes in Budapest, with PM Orban to meet European Commission chief Juncker on Thursday for talks on the situation.

Germany takes political lead on migration crisis

Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel has said the EU must act to address the migration crisis, or Europe's "close association with the universal rights of citizens will be destroyed".

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

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