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Hungary suspends key EU asylum claim rule

24 june 2015, 10:46
0
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. ©AFP
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. ©AFP

Hungary has indefinitely suspended the application of a key EU asylum rule, which requires a migrant's claim to be processed in the EU country they first arrive in, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, AFP reports.

"The boat is full," Zoltan Kovacs told Austrian media, referring to the recent influx of migrants. 

"We all wish for a European solution, but we need to protect Hungarian interests and our population."

So far this year some 60,000 migrants have entered Hungary, most of them via Serbia, according to government figures.

In 2014, the country already took in more refugees per capita than any other EU country apart from Sweden, recording 43,000 arrivals in total.

Hungary is in Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, which means that once migrants have arrived in the country, they can travel freely elsewhere in the other 25 nations in the bloc.

As a result, many try to continue on to other European states, including Austria and Germany.

However, according to the so-called Dublin III regulation, these nations can return the asylum seekers to Hungary to process their application.

Hungary says it has now "exhausted the resources at its disposal" to accept further refugees.

But Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl Leitner strongly condemned Hungary's decision.

"Anyone who wants to have a Europe without borders, needs to respect the Schengen rules. Of course this also means respecting the Dublin rule."

Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has a record of spats with Brussels, has been among the harshest critics of EU plans to manage the upsurge in migrant numbers by spreading the burden around the 28-nation bloc.

Last week, Orban sparked further controversy when he announced it was building a four-metre (13-foot) high fence on its border with Serbia to keep out migrants.


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