Migrants: Merkel and Orban clash over Europe's 'humanity'

08 July, 2018, 10:43 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Lorries being checked on the German border

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who has pushed Merkel to take a harder line against migrants, said a new plan to establish migrant detention centers envisions sending people directly back to where they first entered the European Union - primarily Greece and Italy.

Seehofer also announced that he will meet next week with his Italian and Austrian counterparts for talks aimed at restricting the Mediterranean sea route used by migrants heading to western Europe.

Orban said that Germany should be grateful for the fence that Hungary has built on its borders with Serbia and Croatia, and which, according to him, is guarded 24 hours a day to 8,000 armed men.

The left criticized Merkel's plan, sealed at the weekend with her Bavarian conservative allies, as being too draconian while the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party called on Merkel to resign, denouncing it as too soft and vague.

Saying he was "convinced these will be very hard talks", Horst Seehofer said Thursday "it is a problem for all of Europe and we want to negotiate with Italy and Greece" to send them back migrants who had already registered and applied for asylum in those countries, the main entry points to the EU.

German Chancellor Merkel and Hungarian PM Orban underlined their differences on the issue of migration, but said they are willing to keep talking.

The leaders agreed on ditching so-called transit centers to process incoming asylum-seekers, rather there will now be "transit processes in police centers", CSU leader Seehofer told reporters.

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She has agreed bilateral deals with a number of countries, including Spain and Greece which are on the front line of migrant arrivals.

Austria, which took over the EU's rotating presidency on 1 July, wants to strengthen the EU's external borders while avoiding internal controls on the continent. "Order must be brought to all forms of migration so people have the impression that law and order is being implemented", she said to applause for her own lawmakers but jeers from the AfD.

Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe advocate an anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policy.

However, she added EU tariff negotiations required a "common European position and we are still working on it".

Reuters reported that the usa ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has repeatedly met with executives of German carmakers and major suppliers to discuss the issue.

Diplomatic convention requires the holder of the European Union presidency not to push pet projects but to act as an honest broker for all European Union countries.

"The moment came that no one thought possible no matter what the circumstances: Angela Merkel requested a meeting with Viktor Orban, and not vice versa", the daily Magyar Idok, which is closely aligned with Orban's government, wrote this week. Kurz called for the agency to have 10,000 border guards by 2020, seven years earlier than anticipated by Brussels.

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