Hungary’s government said Friday it will seek the public’s views on immigration, including on whether asylum-seekers should be made to work, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban called existing EU rules “stupid”.
“People will be asked (by questionnaire) whether they agree that illegal border-crossers should be taken into custody, or whether they should be deported immediately,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said.
Another of the 12 questions will ask if migrants should have to work in order to cover the costs of their accommodation or detention, Kovacs told journalists. The responses will help experts and MPs draw up new rules.
Around eight million people in 10-million-strong Hungary, which receives the second-highest number of asylum applicants by size of population in the EU, will be sent the “public consultation” in May.
Since 2013, the central European country — part of Europe’s visa-free Schengen zone — has seen a sharp rise in numbers of asylum-seekers, most arriving at its southern border with non-EU member Serbia.
In 2014 their numbers more than doubled to around 43,000. In January 2015 alone there were 13,000 requests, mostly Kosovo Albanians, according to Hungary’s Office of Immigration and Nationality.
Although almost all seek to travel onwards, mainly to neighbouring Austria and Germany, the influx of economic migrants has raised tensions, with the right-wing Orban regularly vowing tougher action to shut them out.
In a public radio interview Friday, Orban, who attended Thursday’s emergency summit in Brussels on the migrant issue, called existing EU immigration regulations “stupid” and said that “immigration should be stopped”.
“The borders of Europe must be defended, and to this end, the EU must also take policing and military action,” he said.
In January Orban, who has often courted controversy since winning power in 2010, said after the “Charlie Hebdo” attacks in Paris that economic immigration was “bad for Europe”.
“While I am prime minister, Hungary will definitely not become an immigration destination. We don’t want to see significantly sized minorities with different cultural characteristics and backgrounds among us, we want to keep Hungary as Hungary,” he said.
Source Credits: AFP