Budapest, January 25 (MTI) – The ruling Fidesz party has proposed that procedures for asylum seekers should be speeded up drastically.
Lajos Kosa, the party’s deputy chairman, told a news conference on Sunday that certain procedures could be handled in a matter of a few days.
The categories of a so-called secure country of dispatch and a secure third country would be employed, and those who arrive in Hungary as asylum seekers from such countries on this government list could be “turned back immediately,” he said.
He said the government also wanted to draw the European Commission’s attention to the need for a new asylum policy, since the current regulations, he insisted, do not take the points of view of transit countries into consideration. The Greek, Italian, Maltese, Spanish and Portuguese authorities also share this standpoint, he added.
As parliament’s defence and law-enforcement committee head, Kosa has initiated the establishment of a joint position to be promulgated by these countries’ parliamentary committees. On this basis, it will be possible to turn to Brussels, he said.
“If we don’t deal with the problem at this stage then a xenophobic wave could sweep across Europe, and this would obviously be exploited by far-right political forces,” he said.
Kosa said he would have held the press conference at which he now spoke even had the Paris terrorist attacks of a few weeks ago not taken place because, for the reason of European legal harmonisation, the system of procedures for asylum seekers must be settled.
In the past few years, the number of refugees arriving in Hungary has grown dramatically: while in 2012 2,300-2,500 asylum seekers turned up in the country, last year this rose to 42,000. The majority of these were economic migrants. In 2014, out of the 42,000, only 500 received refugee status. Kosa added that 95 percent of those arriving in Hungary were of “Islamic identity”, most being from Kosovo, Syria and Afghanistan.
Last year, the government devoted over 5 billion forints (EUR 16m) for dealing with asylum seekers, he said.
Kosa’s proposal was greeted with derision from the green opposition LMP’s leader, Andras Schiffer, who called the idea of shortening an asylum procedure “nonsense”. Schiffer said genuine security risks would be exacerbated by the lack of money for enforcing and maintaining the Hungarian asylum and immigration system. He said that currently there would be no possibility of legal enforcement for reducing the procedure from 30 days to 3 days. Indeed, the plan does not take into account those asylum seekers who, since they have just escaped from their country, are so traumatised that often they cannot even speak. In such cases it would be impossible to determine whether there is any basis for their application for asylum in such a short time, he said.