February 28, 2016 / 7:40 PM / 2 years ago

Hungarian PM vows to resist EU's 'misguided' migrant policy

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemned on Sunday the European Union’s failure to get to grips with its migrant crisis and vowed to resist pressure to take in more migrants, saying they would bring crime, terrorism and other problems.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during his state-of-the-nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, February 28, 2016. The banner reads "Hungary reforms works". REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Orban has long been known for his fiery right-wing rhetoric, but in his annual state of the nation address he struck a particularly harsh tone toward the refugees and Brussels over its attempts to impose migrant quotas on member states.

“We cannot let it force upon us the sour fruits of their misguided immigration policy. We want to import no crime, terrorism, homophobia or anti-Semitism to Hungary,” he said, adding the quota system could cause the EU’s disintegration.

Orban, who has been widely criticized for building a razor-wire fence along Hungary’s southern border to keep migrants out, referred to growing social tensions in Europe, including attacks on refugee centers and alleged mass sexual harassment by migrants in Cologne and other German cities at New Year.

“There will be no lawless districts in Hungarian cities. There will be no riots, no refugee camps set on fire and no gangs will hunt for our wives and daughters,” he said, using characteristically blunt language.

“In Hungary, we will nip in the bud and punish even the slightest attempts at such things,” Orban said, adding that he wanted to fortify and possibly extend the border fence.

More than a million migrants, many escaping war and poverty in Syria and elsewhere, have fled to Europe over the last year, many passing through Hungary en route for wealthier western European nations, especially Germany.

Orban, 52, has often framed his approach to the migrant crisis as a defense of Europe’s Christian culture and heritage against the tide of mostly Muslim migrants.

“The migration wave can be stopped,” he said. “Europe is a community of half a billion people, more than Russia and the United States combined. Europe has the technology, the strategic and economic might to defend itself,” he said.

Orban said he did not blame the migrants for only doing “what they think is best for them” by coming to Europe but European leaders for failing to devise coherent policies to stem and reverse the tide.

Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Gareth Jones

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