Extraordinary scenes played out at an emergency European Union (EU) summit in Belgium last night after the president of the European Council criticised Germany’s “invitation” to migrants and warned the crisis had only just began.
The Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban then accused Germany of “moral imperialism”. French president Francois Hollande responded by telling Orban he should “respect European values” or leave while Slovakia reaffirmed its commitment to defy forced migration quotas.
Despite the bickering, the European Commission managed to agree on spending an additional €1.7 billion of taxpayer money on the crisis – which could mean an extra €208 million in British contributions over the next two years – and on as yet unspecified measures to “secure the external borders” of the EU.
The European Council president Donald Tusk said:
“The most urgent question we should ask ourselves tonight is how to regain control of our external borders… Otherwise it doesn’t make any sense to even speak about common migration policy. What is at stake is also the future of Schengen, the sense of order in Europe and the common European spirit.”
Tusk also warned: “The greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come. We need to end the policy of open doors and window… Today we are talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe, not thousands,” The Times reports.
Then, in a thinly veiled attack on the German chancellor Angela Merkel, he said: “It is likely that more refugees will flow towards Europe. Especially as almost all of them feel invited to Europe,” referring to Merkel’s promise to offer asylum to any Syrian this August, no matter how many safe countries they pass through, and regardless of whether or not they come from a dangerous region.
After “inviting” tens of millions of people into Europe last month, Germany was quickly overwhelmed, closed its boarder and just two days ago forced through a policy to resettle the migrants in other member states against their will. Germany – supported by France, Italy and Poland – used the “qualified majority voting” system to implement a migration quota, which was fiercely resisted by many eastern nations.
Viktor Orban directed his anger at Angela Merkel. “The most important thing is that there should be no moral imperialism,” he said, according to The Times.
“We are Hungarians — we cannot think with German minds,” Mr. Orban added. “Hungary should have the right to control the impact of a mass migration. The Hungarian people don’t want this.”
Orban followed with an unexpected threat, that unless other EU nations started controlling their borders, Hungary would set up a corridor “through which the refugees or migrants can go to Austria or Germany.”
Hollande told Mr Orban that if he did not like it, his country should leave the EU: “States that don’t respect European values should ask if they belong within the EU,” he said.
The Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico repeated his promise to break EU law and refuse to bow to the German “diktat,” by turning away the 800 migrants who will be sent to his nation. “Slovakia is not going to respect mandatory quotas,” he said.