Hungarian PM on asylum crisis: ‘Nobody would like to stay in Hungary’

Published September 3rd, 2015 - 02:25 GMT
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a press conference prior to his meeting with European Commission President and European Parliament President on the response to the asylum crisis at the European Union council building in Brussels, on September 3 2015. (AFP/Thierry Charlier)
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a press conference prior to his meeting with European Commission President and European Parliament President on the response to the asylum crisis at the European Union council building in Brussels, on September 3 2015. (AFP/Thierry Charlier)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban fired back Thursday at criticism against his country’s policy towards the influx of migrants fleeing poverty, war and persecution back home.

Speaking at a joint press conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Thursday in Brussels, Orban said: "The problem is not a European problem the problem is a German problem… nobody would like to stay in Hungary."

"All of them [migrants] would like to go to Germany, our job is to register them," Orban said. 

His comments came as thousands of people, seeking to travel to Western Europe through Hungary, remain stranded in Budapest.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius accused on Sunday eastern European states, namely Hungary, of pursuing a "scandalous" policy against refugees, including erecting a fence on its southern border with Serbia.

Orban said the Schengen rules and Dublin treaty state that it was compulsory for member states of the Schengen zone to control their borders.

"We Hungarians are full of 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," Orban said and announced his country would launch a package of regulations by Sept. 15, including a physical barrier to stop migrants from entering Hungary.

'Schengen under threat'

Orban added that the Schengen zone would be threatened without an efficient border control system.

"The Schengen treaty is under threat. This is absolutely clear. If we don’t solve the problem, then threat for free movement will increase," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said.

The Schengen area has abolished passport controls for travel between 22 of the EU's 28 countries -- plus four non-EU countries. EU rules state the country where a refugee first arrives must process their asylum claim. 

But because the EU lacks a common asylum policy, with different countries handling asylum in different ways, disputes between member states over the distribution of refugees across the bloc have arisen. 

'Please don’t come'

Orban, a right-wing nationalist, was asked if he had seen a viral photo of a drowned Syrian boy washed up ashore in Turkey and why he didn’t speak about compassion first before rules and regulations.

He responded: "If we would create an image … just come because we are ready to accept everybody, that would be a moral failure, because that is not the case."

"The moral human thing is to make clear, please don’t come. Why do you have to go from Turkey to Europe? Turkey is a safe country. Stay there. It’s risky to come," he added. 

Around 2,500 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe this year alone, according to the United Nations.

Interior ministers of all 28 EU states are expected to meet on Sept. 14 in Brussels to discuss ways to cope with the migrant crisis.


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