BERLIN (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in remarks published on Wednesday that if the European Union decides to impose mandatory quotas of asylum seekers on member states, his country would have to comply.
Hungary and Slovakia have led resistance to pleas to accept a quota system for the larger new number of asylum seekers. They argue such schemes will draw more migrants and lead to further mass movements that threaten Europe’s open borders system.
Asked what Hungary would do if the EU agreed to such a system, Orban told the German newspaper Die Welt: “Then it would be law and we’d have to accept it.” He said Hungary was prepared to talk about the quota system but only on a voluntary basis and only when the influx of refugees stopped.
“It would be unwise, unfair and I’m sure that there would be a fair price to pay for it later,” he said, adding that people in the Middle East would take the announcement of such a quota system as an invitation to come to Europe.
He said he was “disappointed” with German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s proposal that states that did not take in their share of asylum seekers could face financial penalties, adding that this was “a tone of brutal use of force”.
Asked whether the EU’s Dublin Regulation, which states that asylum requests be handled where asylum is first claimed, was finished, he said: “Yes ... the world has changed.”
Asked about an interview at the weekend in which Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann likened Hungary’s refugee policies to Nazi deportations during the Holocaust, Orban said: “It was bad behavior but my personal relationship with him is good ... He never says the kind of things to me that he says in the media.”
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Mark Heinrich