Austria and Hungary at loggerheads over migrants

Austria and Hungary at loggerheads over migrants

Austria and Hungary at loggerheads over migrants

Austria has threatened to reinstate border controls with Hungary after Budapest refused to accept asylum seekers from other EU states.

The neighbours’ diplomatic row has further intensified what was already a fragile relationship over how to handle the ongoing flow of migrants into the EU and how they should be shared out.

A number of European countries that are no part of the EU claim the system for combatting migrants does not work, by the decision of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to block asylum seeker transfer came as the biggest step to date.

The Hungarian PM has gained a reputation for disputing with Brussels, and was once referred to as a dictator by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He is also facing strong pressure in his homeland from a far-right anti-immigration opposition party.

EU regulations state that migrants must make the asylum applications in the first member nation they arrive in, and if they proceed to another state within the block they can be returned to where they came from.

Hungary announced that it was putting such transfers on hold because of the large number, some 61,000, of migrants that had entered from outside the EU this year. The decision angered Austria as many migrants wind up there after leaving Hungary.

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner described it as completely unacceptable and said they expected an explanation adding that if there was no imminent explanation, border controls would not be a last resort.

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