The Latest: Hungary PM says detaining migrants serves Europe

AP News
Posted: Mar 28, 2017 11:34 AM
The Latest: Hungary PM says detaining migrants serves Europe

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers into Europe (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says new regulations that allow for the detention of all asylum-seekers at border container camps serve Europe's security interests.

Orban spoke Tuesday in Warsaw, where he attended a meeting of Central Europe's Visegrad Group with the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Orban says the regulations would enable Hungary to stop migrants on its southern border with Serbia, even if an agreement between Turkey and the European Union that has slowed the number of migrants setting off for Europe fails.

The United Nations and human rights advocates have criticized Hungary's new detention policy as inhumane.

Orban says the regulations promote the "security of EU citizens."

He said: "We are defending Hungary, we are defending the countries behind us and we can say that Austrians and German can sleep in peace."


4 p.m.

Leaders from Central Europe said Tuesday they reject a European Union policy that calls for all member states to receive migrants, protesting suggestions that the level of their compliance could be linked to the availability of EU funds to them.

A meeting in Warsaw of the so-called Visegrad Group brought together Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and her counterparts from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic for talks including EU's migrant policies and a plan of sharing some 160,000 migrants among member states to ease the migrant wave pressure on Greece and Italy.

The EU recently warned of financial consequences to those who do not comply.

Central European leaders said they reject the relocation plan and will not yield under the financial pressure, which they called an attempt at blackmail.


3:15 p.m.

Austria's chancellor says he will push in Brussels for at least temporary exempt status from an EU-wide plan to distribute refugees.

The plan adopted in September 2015 foresaw sharing 160,000 asylum seekers from front-line states Greece and Italy around the EU over two years. But it has resulted in only a fraction being relocated.

Austria's quota is 1,953 but it, along with others, has yet to participate in the scheme. Chancellor Christian Kern said Tuesday that Austria should be exempt because it has fulfilled its obligations by handling those who slipped over its borders undetected.

But European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said "no country can unilaterally withdraw from a legally binding decision," and that Austria is "expected to fulfill its legal obligation."


12:40 p.m.

The European Union's commissioner for migration is calling on Hungary to comply with the bloc's rules on dealing with asylum seekers.

New legislation entering into force in Hungary on Tuesday allows the detention of all asylum seekers in border container camps. It has been sharply criticized by UN agencies and human rights advocates.

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos met with Hungarian officials and said experts would discuss the new asylum rules to ensure "that EU rules also are complied with."

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an advocate for asylum seekers, said that a temporary order late Monday from the European Court of Human Rights prevents Hungary from taking eight teenagers and a woman with a high-risk pregnancy from refugee reception centers to the border container camps.