The Hungarian government has toppled the European Union‘s scheme to relocate 160,000 migrants to avoid having to accept 1,000, Gianni Pittella, group leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, told Hungarian public television in an interview late on Sunday night.
Pittella called on Hungary to show solidarity towards member states like Italy, France and Germany, which have taken on several thousands of refugees and immigrants, “without the necessary support from other countries”. Hungary’s share of the burden would be minute in comparison with the hundreds of thousands in those countries, he said.
Those fleeing from war should be granted asylum according to basic principles, Pittella said, and legal avenues should be opened up for economic migration.
A sustainable, systematic inclusion of well-trained economic migrants can be beneficial for the bloc, which “faces demographic challenges and workforce shortage in certain areas”, he said. It would also facilitate the vetting of those to be sent back, he said. To reject this on ideological grounds shows irrational thinking and vote-mongering, he insisted.
Pittella warned to keep the principle of solidarity in the foreground to avoid “Viktor Orbán cherry-picking what he likes from the EU”, and leave what he “doesn’t like”. No one asks the Hungarian government to open Hungary to “all and sundry”, he said.