Hungary set to turn away refugees and close main refugee camp

Szabolcs Takács, the deputy Minister of State for European Affairs, who some of our readers will recall from last fall–when a few of us asked him questions during his talk at Ottawa’s Carleton University–gave an interview to Italy’s La Stampa paper, entitled: “Enough of the immigrants! Hungary will lead the front against EU quotas.” Mr. Takács underlined that Hungary plans to play a leadership role in rallying Eastern European member states of the EU (notably the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic states), in building a coalition against proposals from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, that would allow for 20,000 refugees and migrants to settle in the EU legally over the next two years, at a cost of €50 million. Hungary would only have to take in 307 refugees, based on these plans, which surely implies little more than a symbolic participation in this EU-wide strategy. Yet the Orbán government is not one to support goodwill gestures.

According to Mr. Takács, the “solution” would be to address the reasons for out-migration in the countries of origin, rather than to open the gates to people fleeing violence, oppression or abject poverty. In other words, the EU–according to the Hungarian junior minister–has no international humanitarian role to play.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán went a few steps further. In a press conference organized in Debrecen on Monday, he noted that those arriving in Hungary “are not refugees, but rather migrants. They are not arriving because they are forced to leave, but simply in the hopes of a better life for themselves.”  The liberal website 444.hu remarked that this is, apparently, how. Mr. Orbán also sees the four million people who have fled civil war in Syria.

The Debrecen refugee camp. Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI.

The Debrecen refugee camp. Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI.

Mr. Orbán spoke with the mayor of Debrecen, which is also home to the country’s main refugee camp, who asked for the Hungarian leader to confirm that the camp would not be further developed or expanded. Mr. Orbán confirmed that his government would seek to close the camp.

“What Hungary wants, is for no more of them to come, and for those of them who are here to go home,” declared Mr. Orbán in Debrecen. The camp in question has thus far accommodated a total of 35,000 refugees over the years, starting with thousands of Kosovar Albanians displaced by the  war with Serbia in 1999, and then over 8,000 refugees from Afghanistan in 2001. The camp has also housed refugees from Iraq, followed by Roma arrivals from Kosovo in 2007/08. As Népszabadság noted, Fidesz has actually been more extreme in how it views the camp than Jobbik. Lajos Kósa, the former Fidesz mayor of Debrecen, had long used the camp as an opportunity for populist rhetoric during political campaigns in the city.

In the first quarter of 2014, a total of 33,542 people have asked for refugee status in Hungary, although most see this merely as a transit country, and hope to move on to western Europe.

16 Comments

  1. George Lázár says:

    As an immigrant to the US, who was born in the city of Debrecen, I’m appalled by the fanning of anti-immigrant sentiment. I want to believe that most Hungarians reject Mr. Orbán’s comments and I encourage Canadian and US Hungarian immigrant organizations to condemn his statements. If they don’t do it, they soon become obsolete.

  2. I have no words.

    Orban seems to revel in his inhumanity. If there is justice in the world, he is due for a crash-landing, and the sooner the better.

  3. Can you push through the craziest and most destructive plan? Yes, if it sounds insane enough to the international community to NOT TO believe it. Then yes, you can realize it. What’s the plan? Iron Curtain. To bring back the Iron Curtain around Hungary. Sounds crazy enough to be dismissed as insanity? Yes, of course!!!!!!! That yields right of way to Orban.

    What does he want. At first place to halt the unprecedented wave of Hungarian migration to Europe. The bests of the Hungarians are leaving the country and a newer even bigger wave of migration is looming. Bad news for the slave keeper autocrat. Now his shouting; ban the refugees, ban those who are not forced to leave, but simply leave their country in the hopes of a better life for themselves!!!!!!

    But who are those people???? The HUNGARIANS are. Orban’s slaves. You see, that makes sense for him that way.

    His simple plan is, to create a terrible stir that might be enough to make the EU respond by rewriting the quotas and seriously limit the quotas for Hungarian immigrants or simply ban Hungarian immigrants from entering the EU. The best way to achieve this, is to mess around with the EU and the quotas, to embarrass the EU leaders and the international community, to set the players on each other.
    Lats but not for the least to lead attention away from the Quaestor scandal and his Fidesz crime syndicate possibly far reaching involvement.

    What do you think it needs? It’s winter, (of human history of social evolution) the hillsides are covered with tick snow (social and economic tensions), all he needs is a pistol and a few dummy bullets. It’s not the projectile that will do the damage, he doesn’t have enough ammunition for that. It’s the sharp and loud sound of the shooting with blanks at a sensitive place that will trigger the avalanche.

    What else does he need? A helicopter –- power, being a PM –- to fly just a hundred meter over the mess he created so hat he can survive the avalanche and then he can safely land with the loot on the clear, silent, harmless land of destruction he left behind.

  4. No – this is the right thing to do. When does it stop, people who are PRO this happening? Until Europeans are an ethnic minority in their own indigenous homelands? Who is affording this? These people need to stay in their countries and fight to make them better, however possible for them. And lest you forget many of these immigrants will not ‘integrate’ as they bring ISLAM with them to Europe.

    Enough is enough. Insanity says otherwise.

    • First of all, Europe was populated by nomads, people who ALL migrated from somewhere else, there are no “indigenous” people in Hungary. Quit the fear mongering bull shit!

      • Fear mongering? 19,000,000 muslims in the EU alone is fear mongering? You are not too bright, Ms. Liz. There certainly ARE indigenous people to Hungary – they have been there for centuries, they populate the land, they speak the language, they are the culture – they are an ETHNICITY and this is their land. Get a clue.

        • Liz Aucoin says:

          Oh I think I am very bright George, as a matter of fact, attacking my intelligence is the first sign you do not have a leg to stand on with your argument. Yes, 19,000000 muslims in the EU IS fearmongering considering that figure accounts for less than 4% of the population of the EU. I wouldn’t expect a fear mongerer to put the numbers in perspective, only state the largest value to make it seem shocking. Being somewhere for centuries, does NOT make someone indigenous to a land, just ask the Roma about that since they are still being called immigrants even though they have been in Europe for centuries too. What is scientific fact is that people migrated there mostly from Asia and were darker skinned and they populated the land. Whether you like that or not. Just read about it, in this article they are studying DNA of peoples remains from 7700 years ago from the Great Hungarian Plain region. http://www.projectrace.com/medical-monday-51

    • “Until Europeans are an ethnic minority in their own indigenous homelands?”

      If the quota’s had been approved, Hungary would have been expected to take in about 300 refugees. So get a grip!

      • 300 today. How many next year? And the year after? And the year after that? And so on and so forth.

        I am impressed with the Hungarian government on this issue.

  5. Orbán is right in this question. We can see in Sweden, London, Paris, Marseille what did multiculturalism and tolerance bring: white Europeans became minority in their own homeland.
    I feel sorry for those who need to come to Europe, but there must be other way to help them.

    • There is no European country where there is NOT an overwhelmingly white European majority.

      • At the moment not. But in the near future, there is a big chance of this is happening. And if we speak about contries.
        But there are some big cities, where are nearly (or under) 50% is the ratio of the native people. Just check it, how many (ethnic) English people live in London, how many (ethnic) Swedes live in Malmö, how many (ethnic) French live in Marseille.

        Diversity = destroying European nations with multiculturalism. Not by killing them, but by transforming them.

  6. Every year, every single year there are 50million+ Africans born in to poverty. 1.9billion children in the next 35 years in Africa alone. Letting the asylum seekers in does nothing to solve this problem, absolutely nothing. You will not find a single society on earth where ‘multiculturalism’ has had a net benefit to society. Sure you get more workers, but you can also find workers from countries within Europe that have cultures less dissimilar to your own.

    It is inhumane and very incompassionate to allow for mass immigration within the borders of the EU, even more so in Hungary where there is already a shortage of work. Europe is made of nation-states and protecting our demographics is more important than protecting a few people who want to flee their countries.

    You can let them in, claim it won’t hurt but in 20 years? Will the immigrants not push for even more immigration, would they not want more people of their ethnicity to live among them in their new countries?

    • Precisely.

      Reactionaries need to realise there needs to be a limit – as there does with anything. Europe is full – we need to take care of our own at this point and preserve our culture and way of life.

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