What do Hungarians think of the Greeks?

Refugee Policy in Europe : The criticism of Hungary is dishonest

Ideally, a worldview is derived from a sober, ideology-free view of the real world. When judging the role of the individual EU states in the European refugee drama, leading politicians and media violators in Germany are far from it. It is particularly fashionable at the moment to beat Hungary and, if not quite as vehemently, Poland, the Baltic States and Slovakia, because they allegedly behave in a particularly disagreeable manner.

Hungary respects the rules, Greece and Italy don't

The facts tell a different story. Hungary adheres to the system set by the EU far more than other states with EU external borders. One might consider this Dublin system, according to which the EU country through which an asylum seeker first enters is responsible for the registration and the examination procedure, to be wrong or outdated.

There are good reasons to criticize Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban for his interpretation of democracy and human rights. It is dishonest, however, to pillory Hungarians and other East Central Europeans and to spare Western European old members of the EU, who are much greater sinners, from criticism.

If the EU states were to adhere to the agreed system and their obligations in it, the majority of those seeking refuge would have to be registered in Italy and Greece, possibly also in the Mediterranean countries of Spain and France, before they are distributed to all EU states according to a fair key . According to figures from the EU authority Eurostat, 170,000 of the around 400,000 asylum seekers were registered in Germany in the first half of 2015, followed by Hungary with 66,500. In Italy and France there were around 30,000 each, in Greece 6000.

Hungary has only ten million inhabitants, France and Italy almost six times as many. So Hungary acted twelve times as receptive per capita. Poland is just behind the Greeks when it comes to accepting asylum seekers, although it is not a transit country for the current flow of refugees, on par with Spain and ahead of Denmark, Finland and Ireland.

A border fence is not yet a scandal

The numbers and the echo in Germany teach us: Those who behave in a disagreeable manner, who send refugees further north like Greece and Italy, save themselves trouble and costs. Those who try to fulfill their European obligations like Hungary are pilloried: “Fences!”, “Deportations!” The self-righteous indignantly, as if securing the state border - yes, even with fences - was a scandal. And the transfer of asylum seekers to reception camps is a disgrace, because those affected want to travel on and perhaps mistakenly think they can freely choose their asylum country.

If Germany does not want to take in all of the more than a million refugees by the end of the year, it needs allies who respect EU rules - and who urge other EU countries to do so. Hungary proves: The Dublin system can work, at least a little. If Hungary controls the trains, fewer refugees will come to Munich.

You can find our topic page on refugees here.

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