Refugee policy focus of Seehofer, Orban meeting | News | DW | 04.03.2016
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Refugee policy focus of Seehofer, Orban meeting

The German chancellor's biggest domestic detractor and one of her biggest international ones have come together to discuss migration policy. Both expressed concern over upcoming EU-Turkey talks on the refugee crisis.

For Hungary, "zero immigration is optimal," the country's prime minister, Viktor Orban, said on Friday following a meeting in Budapest with German politician Horst Seehofer. Seehofer, the leader of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), has been one of the most outspoken domestic critics of the chancellor's migration policy.

Seehofer and Orban, however, insisted that their talks were not intended to undermine Merkel or her administration.

"We have not come together to weaken the German chancellor or her government … our conversation was not about our positions in relation to the chancellor," Seehofer told the press.

Orban added that while he backed upcoming talks with Turkey about stemming the flow of migrants to Europe, the European Union should not abandon its power to "exclusively" protect its external borders.

Seehofer agreed and added that the best strategy would be to reduce the number of migrants over time. "Success ... involves lowering the numbers of migrants coming to Europe over the longer term," he said.

Orban: One is already too many

While Seehofer, whose state lies on the border with Austria and thus at the heart of Germany's refugee crisis, has been highly critical of Merkel's open-door policy, Orban has come out swinging against an EU plan backed by the chancellor to redistribute asylum seekers throughout the 28-member bloc based on a quota system.

To that end, Orban has already filed an injunction against the plan at the European Court of Justice. On Friday, he voiced his concerns about coming to a similar deal with Turkey.

"Already the count of one [asylum seeker] is too much for us. We will not accept any agreement that may see migrants from Turkey coming to Hungary."

Budapest has also called a national referendum on the quota issue as fellow EU countries such as Italy and Greece continue to grapple with the disproportionate amount of arrivals on their shores.

es/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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