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Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said the new strategy, unveiled by the European Commission on Wednesday, was not a breakthrough. And Czech Republic chief Andrej Babic also dismissed the plans before holding talks with top eurocrats. It comes after years of bitter wrangling in the hope of finding a bloc-wide solution to tackle “unauthorised” movements across the Continent.
Euro chiefs unveiled plans to revamp their failed border policies and massively increase the bloc’s ability to deport rejected asylum seekers.
Of the 140,000 migrants who came to Europe last year only a third were genuine refugees, according to the EU Commission.
But responding to the proposals, Mr Orban said: “The breakthrough will come when the Hungarian proposal is accepted that says that nobody can enter the territory of the European Union until one of the member states closes their asylum procedure.”
Under Brussels’ plans, All arrivals will be screened, have their fingerprints taken, and their chances of gaining asylum assessed by a new EU border force.
They will be allocated a Member State responsible for their application, based on criteria like family links.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, met with Mr Orban and Poland’s Mateusz Morawicki and Mr Babis earlier today.
The top eurocrat hoped to stop a mini rebellion from breaking out before member states rubber-stamp her proposals.
But after the behind-closed-doors meeting, Mr Morawicki said: “There are certain rules that we stick to, the need to ensure effective policies regarding border control, on-the-spot assistance, or the kind of assistance Poland is now giving to Greece.”
The main point of contention was the EU’s plans to share responsibility for asylum seekers under a so-called “mandatory solidarity” mechanism.
Mr Babis rejected the concept as pointless, adding he has “absolutely the same opinion as Orban”.
The Czech leader added: “We need to stop migration and change the quota relocation system, so we should continue to negotiate, talk to African countries and develop a long-term strategy for Syria and Libya.”
Before the meeting, Mr Babis was much more scathing of Mrs von der Leyen’s plans.
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He told reporters that “at first sight, it seems the European Commission still hasn’t understood that to stop illegal migration we have to stop illegal migrants when they arrive on European soil”.
“This is fundamentally nonsense because if we don’t accept migrants, we can’t return them,” he added.
But the proposals, if passed by the EU, will represent a major victory for Home Secretary Priti Patel.
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She had accused EU nations of not doing enough to stop people reaching Britain.
Capitals will get £9,000 for every person they take in.
But there is a get out clause for anti-migrant countries like Hungary and Poland, who can instead put cash towards the bloc’s deportation programme.
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