Thursday 27 October 2016

'Round up, deport refugees to island camps' - Hungarian PM

Roland Oliphant, Munich

Published 23/09/2016 | 02:30

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Picture: Getty Images
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Picture: Getty Images

Hungary's prime minister has called for the EU to "round up" illegal immigrants and deport them to guarded camps "on an island or North Africa".

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The comments are likely to further inflame tensions with other EU governments who say Budapest's ultra-hard line on migration flouts both international law and fundamental European values.

Viktor Orban made the comments as he lashed out at Angela Merkel's refugee policy, saying it was unfair for Berlin to try to distribute migrants across EU member states.

"This could be an island, it could be a coastal area in North Africa, but the security and supplies of that area must be guaranteed by the EU in its own interest," Mr Orban told Origo, a Hungarian news website. "Those who came illegally must be rounded up and shipped out," he said.

"We must set up large refugee camps outside the EU, with armed security and financial support provided by the Union. Everyone who came illegally must return there. There they can file for asylum," he added.

It is not the first time Mr Orban, pictured, has caused controversy with his hardline rhetoric against migrants, whom he has previously called a "poison". He has ordered the construction of a razor wire fence along Hungary's southern border, suggested hanging "pigs' heads" on it, and has said he would refuse to take the share of refugees Hungary is obliged to accept under EU law.

His government is sponsoring a referendum to be held on October 2 on whether Hungary should reject EU quotas to resettle migrants among member states.

Hungarian media have reported that he may push for fundamental amendments to the Lisbon Treaty if a large majority of Hungarians back him in the referendum.

His rhetoric has been met with increasing frustration by other European governments, who accuse him of flouting both EU law and fundamental European values.

This week, Nordic countries called for Hungary to be punished over its hardline stance on the immigration crisis. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden co-signed a letter expressing their "great concern" at Budapest's refusal to act by the Dublin rules, under which refugees must seek asylum in the first EU country they enter.

They called on Dimitris Avramopoulo, the EU migration commissioner, to "take measures" promptly against Budapest's violation of EU law.

Earlier this month, Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's foreign minister, said Hungary should be suspended from the European Union for violating democratic core values and treating refugees like "animals".

Austria has also threatened to bring a case against its neighbour in the European courts.

The British embassy in Budapest yesterday raised concerns with the Hungarian government after it issued an official leaflet describing parts of London as "no-go areas" because of immigration.

The leaflet included a map showing around 900 "no-go areas" in European cities with large immigrant populations, including London, Paris and Berlin.

"This leaflet is clearly inaccurate," the Foreign Office said. "There are no areas in the UK in which the laws of the UK cannot be enforced."(© Daily Telegraph London)

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