Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stood firm on mass migration during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Thursday, saying that his country would refuse to allow Germany to send migrants back to Hungary.
Chancellor Merkel described the meeting saying that Mr Orbán claimed Hungary felt, “not at all responsible for the processing of asylum applications”, and looked to countries like Greece to take responsibility for processing asylum claims instead, Der Spiegelreports.
The German leader added that the federal government could not see Europe “decouple” itself from asylum seekers and legitimate refugees but noted that the two leaders did find common ground on wanting to secure the European Union’s external borders.
The visit is the first time since 2014, before the height of the migrant crisis, that the Hungarian leader has formally been to Berlin. Since the crisis, Hungary has been firm on rejecting large numbers of migrants by first building a fence along the border with Serbia and then rejecting proposals to redistribute migrants throughout EU member states.
The meeting also follows a crisis within the German coalition government in which Interior Minister Horst Seehofer seemed set to resign over wanting to implement a tougher, more Orbán -like migration policy. An agreement between Seehofer and Merkel was established earlier this week, preventing a potential collapse of the coalition.
Seehofer also attended a meeting in Austria Thursday with the heads of the Austrian conservative-populist government to discuss the ramifications of the new German policy to which Seehofer and Merkel had agreed.
Meeting with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, populist Vice-Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache, and Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, the two sides came to an amicable agreement on steps forward with Mr Strache saying: “There will be no measures that are to the detriment of Austria.”
Both Kurz and Seehofer described the meeting as “friendly” and “fruitful”.
The meeting comes after Kurz declared his intention last month to create an “Axis of the Willing” between Austria, Germany, and Italy to combat illegal mass migration.