Orbán wants EU to pay for his fence
In a letter to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has demanded 440 million euros from the EU to cover half the cost of erecting a border fence. The fence and personnel guarding it protect not only Hungary but also "all Europe from the flood of migrants", Orbán claims. Is this arrogance or a justified call for solidarity?
Germany should present its own invoice
Orbán's demand is no less than brazen, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:
“His argument: yet again Hungary is defending all of Europe. It is true that many in Europe are secretly glad that Orbán is blocking the Balkan route and dissuading refugees from undertaking the journey. Unfortunately, in doing so he has resorted to brutal and even inhumane means. Asylum seekers are treated so badly in Hungary that Germany has stopped deporting rejected asylum seekers there. ... Perhaps the German government should write an invoice of its own and demand that Orbán cover part of the costs incurred when Germany took in hundreds of thousands of refugees in 2015. It has a good argument for doing so: by providing this assistance Germany defended Europe - its humanity and its honour.”
Hungary denied the recognition it deserves
The EU is discrediting itself by rejecting the Orbán government's request, the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap criticises:
“Brussels clearly doesn't care at all that Ms Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are financing an African solution with a clear conscience, although in all likelihood it will mean that the refugee problem will be dealt with far more brutally than it is already. Instead Europe's politicians and press are attacking Hungary for putting up a border fence and 'leaving the refugees in the lurch'. ... Although Hungary is protecting the EU's external borders to the best of its ability, the country is forever being raked over the coals. So this is what the EU's wonderful solidarity looks like.”