Luxembourg’s foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has demanded that Hungary should be excluded from the European Union for its “massive violation of EU fundamental values”.
In an interview with German daily Die Welt on Tuesday, Asselborn criticized Hungary’s treatment of refugees as well as Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies undermining the independence of the judiciary and the press.
“Anyone who, like Hungary, builds fences against refugees fleeing war, or who violates freedom of press and judicial independence, should be excluded from the EU temporarily, or if necessary forever,” he said, adding that refugees in the country are treated almost worse than animals.
“The EU cannot tolerate this kind of misbehavior. That sounds outrageous. But that’s the only possibility to preserve the cohesion and values of the European Union,” he added.
Asselborn called to change the fact that suspending a member state requires unanimous agreement of other EU member states according to existing treaties.
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto replied to Asselborn, saying: “Like a nihilist, he is working diligently to destroy European security and culture.”
Szijjarto defended controversial measures of his government to stop refugees from crossing into Europe.
“Hungarians have defended Europe throughout history, and they are doing the same now,” he argued, in remarks published by Hungarian news agency MTI.
After the country had experienced a refugee influx in the past year, it established fences on the border with Serbia and Croatia – actions that prompted international condemnations.
In less than three weeks, the country will hold a referendum that will ask citizens: “Do you want the European Union to be able to mandate the obligatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary even without the approval of the National Assembly?”