Austria slams ‘unacceptable’ Hungary’s anti-migrant decision

Some rescued migrants

Some rescued migrants

Austria on Wednesday blasted a decision by neighbouring Hungary to suspend application of a key EU asylum rule as “unacceptable” and warned of “negative” consequences.

“Austria cannot tolerate that,” Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto in a telephone call, a day after Budapest announced it was opting out of a rule requiring a migrant’s claim be processed in the EU country they first arrive in.

Hungary cited the influx of migrants for its decision, with a government spokesman declaring “the boat is full”.

“We all wish for a European solution, but we need to protect Hungarian interests and our population,” spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told Austrian media.

The EU reacted by demanding Budapest urgently clarify its decision.

Hungary received more asylum-seekers per capita than any other EU country apart from Sweden in 2014, up to nearly 43,000 from just 2,000 in 2012.

The tide of arrivals has surged further this year, with 60,000 migrants entering Hungary so far this year, according to government figures.

Many try to continue on to other European states but under the EU’s so-called Dublin III regulation those countries can return asylum seekers to Hungary to have their application processed there.

Hungary, which has taken an increasingly tough stance on immigration, says it has “exhausted the resources at its disposal” to accept further asylum-seekers.

Austria is the country most affected by Budapest’s move, with most of the migrants on its territory arriving either from Hungary or Italy.

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