By Michael Birnbaum and Griff Witte,
BRUSSELS — In a dramatic sign that Europe’s fast-mounting refugee crisis may be set to get even worse, Hungary’s far-right leader told asylum-seekers Thursday to stay away from Europe and vowed to crack down on the thousands of migrants who are crossing into his country every day.
The harsh comments following emergency meetings with European Union leaders in Brussels came as thousands of asylum-seekers rushed Budapest’s central train station, desperate to move onward from squalid conditions but frightened that Hungarian authorities were laying a trap.
Hungary’s leaders have taken the hardest stance against the refugees, constructing a 108-mile razor-wire fence along their border and warning that Europe’s Christian future is at stake. The ballooning crisis has stunned Europe.
[European railways become ground zero for the migrant crisis]
Prime Minister Viktor Orban showed no sign of backing down Thursday, blasting fellow European leaders for their willingness to harbor people fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq.
“If we would create an image . . . just come because we are ready to accept everybody, that would be a moral failure, because that is not the case,” Orban said after a meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schulz. “The moral human thing is to make clear, please don’t come. Why do you have to go from Turkey to Europe? Turkey is a safe country. Stay there. It’s risky to come.”
Orban blamed Germany for sparking the wave of migrants by announcing it would ease rules and take in Syrians fleeing war.
He vowed to completely shut Hungary’s borders by Sept. 15, following new emergency measures expected to be approved by the country’s parliament in the coming days. The measures would give authorities broad new powers to crack down on undocumented migration.
The asylum-seekers in Budapest, many of them fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, had been locked out of the Keleti station since Tuesday, barred from traveling onward to Germany, where leaders have promised shelter and sustenance. A chaotic refugee camp has quickly developed in central Budapest as more people arrive but few leave.
The confusion in Hungary continued Thursday, as hundreds of asylum-seekers in Budapest packed a train they believed was headed to a border town near Austria. Desperate to leave, many families handed their children …Read More