Hungary to detain refugees

Hungary's government has passed even stricter laws for asylum seekers. The parliament has voted in favour of establishing "transit zones" at border areas where both refugees who arrive in the country and those already in Hungary are to be detained. Prime Minister Orbán has once again shown his country in a bad light, some journalists criticise. Others are thrilled to see that the country is finally safe.

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Népszava (HU) /

Discrediting Hungary as a whole

With his decision to set up so-called transit zones Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has once again put his country in a poor light, the government-critical daily Népszava writes with a shake of the head:

“We've grown used to Mr Prime Minister playing war games. Unswervingly he looks for enemies, and when there are none on the horizon he simply invents them. .. We've grown tired of explaining to Mr Prime Minister that no one - neither Brussels nor the refugees - is threatening our sovereignty. ... With the creation of transit zones Orbán is putting the nation under quarantine, because they violate both international and EU law. ... Basically, one could see the fact that he is discrediting himself morally as his own private affair. If he weren't the head of government, that is. As things stand, however, he's not only discrediting Hungarian politics but also the entire Hungarian population.”

Magyar Idők (HU) /

Security for investors and tourists

By setting up transit zones Hungary has once again made it clear that it is a safe country, the pro-government daily Magyar Idők writes in delight:

“Hungary took a symbolic step with the erection of a border fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border in the autumn of 2015. That was, so to speak, the starting point for reappraisals across Europe. In a word: even in the capitals of Western Europe people were gradually beginning to realise that there would be no end to the flood of refugees. Against this backdrop, the establishment of transit zones is simply a logical step. ... The measures adopted by the Hungarian government guarantee the security of our country. Nowadays that is a value that cannot be praised highly enough. Security is crucially important for foreign investors today. The growing number of tourists is also proof that Hungary is seen as a safe country, to say nothing of the growing sense of security among Hungarian families.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Leading the way in refugee policy

A hypocritical outpouring of anger over Hungary's harsh refugee policy should be avoided, Die Welt warns:

“Although Angela Merkel would never admit it, she has long since realised that her policies and some of her statements may have been well intentioned, that but they were ill-considered and have had fatal consequences. If this were not the case today's refugee policy wouldn't consist of the three Ds: deport, deter, deny. ... Today almost every politician of the ruling parties will admit in private that the Hungarian prime minister's decision to close the back doors leading into Central Europe was wise. What state would Germany and Europe's internal affairs be in if they were still open? We should bear this in mind in view of the growing wave of premature verbalism and outrage over Orbán's plans to keep refugees in transit zones as long as their status remains unclear.”

Savon Sanomat (FI) /

EU won't dare to impose sanctions

With elections in France and the Netherlands just around the corner the EU will voice harsh criticism but stop short of sanctions, Savon Sanomat predicts:

“The EU will no doubt condemn Hungary's actions, which trample on the principle of humanitarian aid. But whether its outrage will find expression in some form of sanctions is another matter entirely. This spring will see elections in two major EU states, France and the Netherlands, where criticism of the EU, nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment are looming large. In this sensitive situation the EU will no doubt be reluctant to give right-wing populists more ammunition and therefore avoid interfering in the sovereign decisions of member states.”