“After years of disdain for democracy and European solidarity, Budapest is making life harder for desperate people fleeing war zones. The rest of the continent must stand up against this rotten regime.
Although Orbánite anti-migrant policies are especially extreme, some of his positions enjoy support among other central European governments. Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have sided with Hungary in rejecting an EU plan for migrant quotas, currently promoted by Germany, France and Italy. The »Orbán factor« thus plays an important role in the east-west split that could define upcoming EU summits. The xenophobic narrative coming out of Hungary needs to be tackled head-on, before it encourages more chauvinism elsewhere in Europe. Mr Orbán’s hateful statements about Muslims being a threat to »European civilisation«, as well as his ludicrous references to century-old wars with the Ottomans, should be called out for what they are: a disgrace.
The urgency of bringing thousands of desperate people to safety, and of hammering out sustainable and efficient EU asylum policies, must not become an excuse for indulging Mr Orbán’s toxic words. They must be countered and denounced. He cloaks his policies in legalistic terms, arguing that Hungary cannot be faulted for strictly abiding by the EU’s Dublin asylum regulations, and yet both the language he uses and the decisions he takes run counter to the very spirit of Europe. EU institutions have failed in the past to hold him accountable for trampling on Europe’s values – now is the time to do so.”