Hungary and Austria feud over migrant quota

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Wikimedia Commons/Délmagyarország/Schmidt Andrea

Hungary declined to accept several thousand migrants that should technically be returned to their country of entry into the European Union, according to EU rules, and this has resulted in a quarrel between the two neighbors, according to a report published by euractiv.com today.

After meeting with his Austrian counterpart Hans Peter Doskozil in Budapest, Hungary’s Defense Minister István Simicskó told a news conference yesterday that Hungary has no intention of taking back migrants from Austria, the portal noted. “In order to take them back they would have had to begin their journey here. But… they crossed several countries before arriving in Hungary. They didn’t suddenly get here by magic, they crossed several safe countries,” Simicskó said, according to euractive.com.

Under the Dublin Treaty, the country in which refugees enter the European Union is required to take back these refugees, regardless of their final destination.

“We have very clear expectations of Hungary. Hungary is after all a member of the EU, the Schengen zone and is party to Dublin. Of course our expectation is that in a Europe with this legal framework, returns to Hungary are possible,” spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry, Karl-Heinz Grundboeck reportedly told AFP earlier.

Hungary is planning to launch a referendum in September or October but it is not yet clear what legal weight a national referendum might have on a quota required by the European Commission. If the referendum is passed, it could certainly be used by Hungaryʼs government to claim they have the support of their people in opposing the EUʼs refugee quota.

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