The Latest: Hungary PM likens border closure to Iron Curtain

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2016 5:09 PM
The Latest: Hungary PM likens border closure to Iron Curtain

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Europe's response to massive influx of asylum-seekers and migrants (all times local):

10:00 p.m.

Hungary's prime minister has likened his country's closure of its borders to migrants last year to Hungary's decision to allow people trapped behind the Iron Curtain to leave the country a generation ago.

Hungary's decision in 1989 to open its frontier with Austria allowed hundreds of East Germans to escape to the West against the wishes of their Communist government.

Viktor Orban told the Bavarian state Parliament late Monday that "in 1989 we acted for the freedom of Europe and now we're protecting this freedom."

Orban added that Hungary had only done its "duty."

The closure of Hungary's borders in the summer of 2015 left tens of thousands of migrants stranded on their way through the Balkans until Germany allowed them to enter its territory.


11:30 a.m.

Hungary's prime minister says his proposed constitutional amendment against any future efforts by the European Union to relocate refugees is about the rights of individual EU nations to oppose an "empire directed by Brussels."

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, speaking Monday at the opening of the parliamentary debate of the amendment, said each country has the right to decide its own fate while others want to replace democratic decision-making with "a faceless bureaucratic directorate."

An Oct. 2 referendum was invalid because of low turnout, but 98 percent of participating voters supported the government's opposition to mandatory quotas.

The far-right Jobbik party supports the amendment "because multiculturalism does not work," while the Socialists, the largest leftist opposition group, said they would boycott the process.


10:25 a.m.

Fourteen children who have been living in a border refugee camp in northern France are due to arrive in Britain to be reunited with their families.

They are the first of dozens of children from the Calais camp to be resettled in the U.K. this week.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says the children will register at a government building in south London Monday before being reunited with relatives at local churches.

Under pressure from charities, religious leaders and French authorities, Britain has agreed to accept scores of children from Calais.

Thousands of migrants fleeing war and hardship have reached the English Channel port town in the hope of making it to Britain.

France says it will soon close the slum-like camp known as the "jungle" where many live.