Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Leaders of Germany, Hungary exchange barbs on migration

Leaders of Germany, Hungary exchange barbs on migration

"We must never forget this is about people; it's about people who come to us and that has something to do with Europe's basic message: humanity", she said at a joint news conference after receiving Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Berlin. "The difference lies in that we can not forget that in end it is about people who come to us. Europe can not simply decouple from hardship and suffering".

At the time, Orban railed against Merkel's "moral imperialism" while the chancellor, who grew up in communist East Germany, said she had seen enough walls in Europe for a lifetime.

While he expressed a willingness to talk, Orban said his position hadn't changed over the past three years.

Orban said that "the only solution" was "the closure of borders and help people" in their own countries and refusing entry of people who "bring trouble". They said there are over 300 German automotive facilities in the United States, supporting almost 120,000 jobs. Germany also wants to reach bilateral deals with Greece and Italy so they take back asylum seekers.

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Mr Seehofer wanted to turn such migrants away immediately at the border, but Ms Merkel argued that would cause a crisis as other European Union states refused to take them.

Under EU rules, the first country of arrival is responsible for processing asylum claims, a system that has put a heavy burden on Mediterranean states and triggered angry debates about what to do with people who move to other member states.

The agreement calls for asylum-seekers registered in other countries to be processed within 48 hours in police facilities, not separate transit centers, if they can not be transported to the Munich airport to be returned to the country where they first applied for asylum.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Thursday went to Vienna to discuss a possible agreement that Austria would be willing to accept certain refugees from the planned transit centres.

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"These national measures would of course affect Austria and would mean that we would have to take measures along our southern border", Kurz said hours before meeting Seehofer.

Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), Seehofer's Christian Social Union (CSU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) compromised on a deal to counter illegal immigration into Germany as well as introducing tougher asylum policies.

In 2017, a total of 15,414 people applied for asylum at German borders, with 1,740 of those applications made at the German-Austrian border - or around 4.7 per day, according to data from Seehofer's ministry provided to Left party lawmakers.

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