REFUGEE ISLAND

Hungary’s prime minister says refugees in Europe should be “rounded up and shipped out”

Obsession
Borders
Obsession
Borders

Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said Sept. 22 that asylum seekers across Europe should be deported to supervised refugee camps outside the EU.

“Those who came illegally must be rounded up and shipped out” said Orbán in an interview published by the local news website Origo.hu. He proposed that a large refugee camp be built for the 1.5 million to 2 million people he estimates have fled to the EU. The camp should be built with EU money and patrolled by armed security provided by the EU, he said. “This could be on an island or somewhere in north Africa,” he said.

Orbán points out Germany’s “welcoming” policy led to its national refugee crisis, which Hungary avoided by building a 140-mile-long wire fence along its southern borders. Germany’s method of resettling refugees, or distributing them around the bloc, as the EU proposed, isn’t a solution for them (or the rest of Europe), the Hungarian prime minister said. “It’s an inhuman proposal, because if someone is moved to somewhere [within the EU], he should be tied to a tree, otherwise he will go back to Germany.”

The Hungarian government has been ramping up its anti-immigrant campaign for the upcoming referendum on refugee resettlement. Most recently, a controversial leaflet was sent to millions of households across the country. The leaflet featured a map of “hundreds of no-go areas in European cities,” warning people to avoid places like London, Brussels, Marseille, Berlin, Stockholm and Copenhagen because of high levels of immigration.

Orbán has made handling the refugee crisis the hallmark of his third regime, but his strategy is questioned by other European politicians. Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn has said Hungary’s attitude violates the EU’s fundamental values; Asselborn recently said Hungary “should be excluded temporarily or if need be forever from the EU,” the FT reports.

Orbán didn’t say how he would implement his country’s referendum should it pass. “If I wanted to tell you what I will do after the referendum, I would tell you. I cannot tell you because I don’t want to…it would be premature,” he told Origo.hu.

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