Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants to block an agreement between Germany and Turkey that would lead to the distribution of refugees across the European Union, Magyar Idok newspaper reported, citing his speech to ruling party lawmakers.
An agreement would leave the EU hosting as many as 500,000 refugees currently in Turkey, the newspaper, which is close to the Orban government, reported on Thursday on its website. Hungary opposes the plan to welcome the Syrians, said the paper, based on remarks by the premier behind closed doors the previous evening.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during a visit to Turkey on Feb. 8, said the only way to end the flood of illegal migration across the Aegean Sea into Greece -- the main conduit by which more than 1 million refugees entered the EU last year -- was to replace it with legal avenues. That would involve the EU taking some refugees directly from Turkey, in return for the government in Ankara helping to stop illegal entries, Merkel said.
Orban was among the first leaders in the EU to build a border fence to keep people out and has been the staunchest opponent of Merkel’s open-door policy. Hungary, along with Slovakia, has filed a lawsuit to try to block the mandatory distribution of refugees.