Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned European leaders that if they do not adopt tougher migration policies and consult voters they face a threat to the democratic order.
Addressing a conference of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Madrid, Mr. Orban said Europe is in “deep trouble” due to the huge influx of migrants it has experienced over the past months, Politico reports.
“This is an uncontrolled and unregulated process,” he said, adding that it poses a direct threat to democracy because governments did not “get authorisation from (citizens) for millions to walk into our continent.”
Mr Oban told the gathering of centre-right politicians from across Europe that left-wing parties were “importing future leftist voters” and trying to “hide it behind humanism.”
He also suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel – a fellow EPP member – was creating chaos by encouraging more migrants to come to Europe and then travel across the continent rather than stopping in the first country they come to.
The grouping, which has traditionally been dominated by Mrs. Merkel, loudly applauded the Hungarian Prime Minister, suggesting a growing rift in the European centre-right.
Mr. Orban also said the flow of migrants had now turned into an “unlimited supply of people”, and it is impossible to open European life to all of them.
“The German, Hungarian or Austrian way of life is not a basic right of all people on earth,” he said. “It is only a right for those people who have contributed to it. We have to help them get back their own lives, with dignity, and we have to send them back to their own countries.”
“We have heartfelt compassion for the people who left their homes,” he added. “They are victims … but considering them victims does not mean we must make ourselves victims.”
The speech put the German Chancellor on the back foot, forcing her to clarify in a later speech that she still respects Europe’s border security.
“We insist on the territorial integrity of all countries in Europe. That is the basis of peaceful coexistence and we cannot make any compromises on that,” she said.
Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk appeared to back Mr. Orban’s comments, but sought to soften the tone.
“We cannot pretend any longer that the great tide of migrants is something that we want and that we are conducting a well-thought out policy,” Mr. Tusk said. “We have lost our ability to control our borders … but on the other hand we cannot give into populism and xenophobia.”