Hungary wants strict EU policy on immigration

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The European Union should adopt strict rules regarding immigration and asylum seekers should return to their countries of origin after the crises there have passed, Hungary’s government spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said Hungary would maintain its own tough rules regarding immigration to avoid issues “existing in some Western European countries.”

“We are going to insist on a strict, common European policy on migration,” said Kovacs, highlighting the steep rise in migrants reaching Hungary.

Over 42,700 people sought asylum in Hungary in 2014, up from 18,900 in 2013, according to the Office of Immigration and Nationality. Last year, Hungary approved 503 asylum requests, little more than 1 percent of the total.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban called the rising asylum-seeker figures “alarming,” saying many were really economic migrants, not people fleeing persecution.

“This is a Christian country, there is mercy in our hearts and it is obvious that the persecuted need to be helped,” Orban said Sunday on state radio. “But we have to say no to subsistence immigrants and make clear that they won’t find their livelihood here.”

Analyst Tamas Boros of Policy Solutions said the issue of immigration, raised after the France attacks earlier this month, was being used by the government to steer attention away from several unpopular measures introduced recently. Those included an expanded road toll system, a decision forcing most retail shops to close Sundays and a proposal to give mandatory drug tests to children 12 and older, he said.

Street protests against government corruption, education policies and other matters have been held recurrently since October, when the government said it wanted to tax Internet use, a plan it later shelved.

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Hungary wants strict EU policy on immigration
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