“If you need them, take them,” he said in a radio interview on Friday. Orban also speculated there that the various coronavirus variants would be brought in by refugees.
It is now almost impossible for migrants in Hungary to apply for asylum. In 2015, Orban had a metal fence built on the border with neighboring Serbia to the south. Migrants who are apprehended in Hungary are pushed back to Serbia by the authorities without any further procedure. Human rights activists and the UN refugee agency UNHCR describe the practice as illegal.
Orban’s statement is reminiscent of the practice of the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. In the spring, in response to EU sanctions, he had declared that he would no longer stop refugees heading for the European Union. The EU accuses him of literally smuggling people from crisis areas. Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are meanwhile strengthening their external EU border with Belarus. Even so, thousands get through to Germany.