Hungary steps up anti-refugee rhetoric ahead of referendum

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
Istanbul
Published 27.09.2016 23:50
Refugees stand behind a fence at the Hungarian border with Serbia near the town of Horgos.
Refugees stand behind a fence at the Hungarian border with Serbia near the town of Horgos.

Ahead of the migrant quota referendum, a Hungarian politician lashed out EU's refugee quotas claiming that the EU will be ‘in great danger' unless the influx of migrants to Europe is stopped

As part of a massive pre-referendum campaign, accepting more migrants would increase terror fears in Europe while putting European countries into "great danger," Antal Rogan, the minister in charge of the cabinet office stated on Monday. "We are in greater danger than we imagine. Immigrants would be assigned to every Hungarian settlement if the compulsory relocation quota was introduced," he stated.

"It also raises the danger of terrorist attacks and will deteriorate public safety. We should learn from the mistakes in the past and this we should clearly say: We don't want immigrants in our country," he added.

His statement came days before migrant quota referendum which will take place on Oct. 2. Hungarians will decide whether to reject migrant quotas handed down from Brussels. Amid wave of anti-immigrant sentiments ridden by PM Orban's government, the vast majority of Hungarian believe that a new migration wave could hit Europe while leading to many terrorist attacks, according to a survey conducted by the Nézőpont Institute, the Daily News Hungary reported. 89 percent of those surveyed are worried over potential terrorist attacks hit Europe due to massive influx of refugees. The survey also revealed that concern over terrorism was equally high in the country.

Based on another survey by the US-based Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Hungarians thought refugees would increase the likelihood of terrorism, while 82 percent considered migrant as a burden on the country because they would take jobs and social security benefits.

The European Parliament will begin debating the quota package in October compulsory relocation would begin as soon as Dec. 1. Hungary refused to take in refugees or migrants under an EU burden-sharing plan.

Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Hungary of mistreating refugees and migrants on purpose to deter them from seeking to cross into the European Union from Serbia, days before the country holds a referendum on EU migrant quotas. The Hungarian government had no immediate comment on the report in which the human rights organization accused Prime Minister Viktor Orban of replacing "the rule of law with the rule of fear."

Critics say Hungary has been heavy-handed in answer to the migrant crisis that saw about 1.3 million people reaching the European Union last year. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said Hungary should be expelled from the bloc for breaching European values, including erecting a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia.

EU states are bitterly divided over how to share out the burden of caring for those who have made it into the bloc and have increasingly focused on sealing their external borders to prevent any repeat of an uncontrolled mass influx.

Some have praised Budapest for sharply reducing the number of irregular border crossings after hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants moved up from the Balkans towards northern Europe last year.

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