Hungarian PM Orban Backs Austria’s Cap on Asylum Seekers

World » EU | January 22, 2016, Friday // 17:38| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Hungarian PM Orban Backs Austria’s Cap on Asylum Seekers Slovenian Prime Minister Miroslav Cerar (R) meets with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban during his one-day visit to Slovenia, at Brdo near Kranj, 22 January 2016. EPA/BGNES

Austria’s decision to limit the number of asylum-seekers crossing its borders is “capitulation of dogmatic thinking to reality and common sense”, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said.

Europe cannot accept huge masses of foreigners without setting limits and controls, Orban told public broadcaster Kossulth Radio on Friday, according to hungarytoday.hu.

On Wednesday, the Austrian government decided to cap the number of refugees it wants to accept this year to 37,000 and a total of 127,500 through 2019. A day earlier, Austria deployed 500 troops at Spielfeld, the main border crossing with Slovenia, to carry out identity and bag checks on every migrant arriving at the border.

Hungary built razor wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia last year to stop the inflow of migrants and refugees along the so-called Balkan route – from Turkey to Greece across the Aegean Sea and then northward via Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria with the final destinations being Germany and the Nordic countries.

The fences initially drew criticism from Hungary’s EU partners, but the country’s neighbours Slovenia and Austria have built fences of their own since then in a bid to relieve migrant pressure at their borders.

Orban also told Hungary's public radio station on Friday that his country had exported hundreds of kilometers of its razor wire fence to Macedonia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, according to the AP. Earlier this month, Orban stated that Bulgaria should be admitted to the EU's Schengen zone of passport-free travel in order for the EU to be able to deal more effectively with the refugee crisis.

Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has told Reuters that the EU’s southern frontiers– and particularly Greece’s long maritime border - were still wide open to the ongoing influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

Even though the  EU's border agency, Frontex, said last month that it would boost its presence in Greece to improve the handling of the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean and into Europe, Szijjarto said that he doubted the plan would work.

"If Greece is not willing to take part in this solution ... we need the Bulgarians and Macedonians to talk to," Szijjarto told Reuters on Tuesday. "It is more likely than ever that the southern border of the Schengen zone will be equal to the northern border of Greece (with Bulgaria and Macedonia)," he added.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Hungary, Orban, Austria, migrants, refugees, crisis, fence, Slovenia, Szijjarto, greece, macedonia
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