A veteran German Social Democratic politician who served as the European Commissioner for Enlargement from 1999 to 2004 has praised Hungarian premier Viktor Orbán for “trying to do what we expect from him” in tackling the immigration crisis.
“This man attempts to do what we expect from him, only to prevent us from having to do the same. The Hungarians are doing the dirty work instead of us”, Günter Verheugen said on the German television programme Das Duell, according to hvg.hu.
Mr. Verheugen, who was secretary-general of the country’s liberal FDP party before he left for the Social Democratic SPD 1982, also blasted Germany’s refugee policies on the programme claiming that “what we are wittnessing now is only the beginning. The storm is yet to come”, referring to the increasingly strong flow of migrants. However, he expressed with cautious optimism that the crisis could lead to the development of a common European refugee policy – a chance which he described as “Angela Merkel’s great opportunity”. He also added that allowing the 1-1.5 million Syrians currently living in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey safe access to Europe is an option that should be considered.
The former EU politician’s discussion partner, German journalist Nikolaus Blome, also said that Mr. Orbán made the right decision when he had fences built to seal off the Serbian-Hungarian and Croatian-Hungarian borders in order to block the uncontrollable tide of immigrants. “He’s building fences because there’s no other way. There’s no other way of keeping the problem under control”, Mr. Blome, who is a member of the news magazine Der Spiegel’s editorial team, said.
Mr. Blome also expressed his support for the EU’s compulsory refugee quota even if this would mean taking refugees to “less appealing” countries against their will. “Allowing them to go wherever they want endangers the borderless Europe”, he argued.