Austria’s foreign minister said the EU should drop its “unrealistic” proposal to share out refugees across the bloc, as voters in neighbouring Hungary were widely expected to reject the plan in a closely-watched referendum on Sunday.
Speaking to German daily Welt am Sonntag, Sebastian Kurz said the European Union should stop clinging to its troubled plan to distribute 160,000 refugees throughout member states, only a fraction of whom have been resettled so far.
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“The target is totally unrealistic,” he said, warning that countries’ disagreements over the plan could threaten “the cohesion of the entire European Union”. Another problem, he said, was that “many refugees refuse to go to certain EU countries”.
The conservative minister’s comments will likely be welcomed in Budapest, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has vehemently campaigned against any mandatory quotas to take in refugees.
Orban’s ‘No’ camp is expected to win today’s referendum on the EU comfortably.
Kurz cautioned against criticising the Hungarian government for its stance, which contrasts strongly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door asylum policy.
“It becomes dangerous when some European Union states create the impression they have the moral high ground over other member countries,” he told the newspaper.
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