Hungary’s threat that it would unilaterally suspend European Union asylum rules, made only yesterday, has been reversed reports euronews. It had objected to the ‘Dublin Regulation‘ which states that a country must take back asylum seekers who first set foot in that country when crossing the EU’s external borders and then travel elsewhere, but has since backed down.
The EU had demanded an urgent clarification from Hungary, having been told that the suspension was “due to technical reasons and for an uncertain period of time.” It also wanted to know what measures the country was taking to remedy the situation.
The Hungarian government says it had used up “all the capacities” at its disposal and had to move quickly nothwithstanding Thursday’s European summit where a new migrant relocation scheme will be discussed. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the government was merely asking for a period of grace to deal with the issue.
EurActive.com reports that in 2014 Hungary received more asylum-seekers per capita than any other EU country apart from Sweden. In 2012 just 2,000 sought refuge in Hunary, but by 2014 the figure was nearer 43,000. Already this year about 60,000 migrants have entered the country, mostly via Serbia. Many are economic migrants from Kosovo but there are also many asylum-seekers from Syria and beyond.
Hungary’s neighbour, Austria, stood to suffer most from Hungary’s unilateral suspension. It was already struggling and The Daily Mail and Reuters reported it had itself stopped processing asylum requests to try to put pressure on other countries to do more to house incoming refugees.
Austria’s Federal Ministry of the Interior says the country had 21,000 asylum requests in the first five months of 2015 alone, this compared to around 17,000 requests in all of 2013 and 28,000 in 2014. It claimed that up to a quarter of those 21,000 fall under the ‘Dublin Regulation’ and ought properly to have their asylum requests processed elsewhere.
Austrian provincial governments are refusing to meet quotas for housing asylum seekers, leaving the federal government struggling to limit and deal with the migrant influx. A makeshift migrant centre in Vienna houses up to 700 asylum seekers in garages or outdoors as there are no beds or bathrooms because the federal government had no accommodation for them.
The threat of suspension is consistent with previous moves from the Hungarian government. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last week announced the building of a 13 foot high fence on its 109 mile Serbian border to keep out migrants. Previously he spoke of how the era of multiculturalism had ended and that Hungary should be spared its effects at all costs.