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Hungary warns of instability as refugee crisis intensifies

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has warned that the massive influx of refugees from the war-torn Middle East and Afghanistan is risking the stability of the continent as the region stares at the most dire demographic implosion in decades. And while the perceived threat of immigration resonates deeply, Bulgaria is proving unpleasant even to the Bulgarians, who are moving to more prosperous parts of Europe. Hungary warned Wednesday, that the escalating refugee crisis would shake the whole European Union unless the continent adopts a tough stance on the crisis, at a high-level meeting at UN headquarters, convened by Secretary-General Ban ki-moon. Prime minister urged the Secretary-General to initiate negotiations on sharing this burden on a global level.

“Excellencies, we have a heartfelt compassion for the people who decided to leave their homes. They are victims of the poor governance of their countries, which took away their human dignity. They are victims of failed international political decisions, which led to war torn regions. They are victims of the failed policy of us in Europe, which raises expectations that are impossible to be fulfilled. And they are victims of human trafficking, which has become a robust business, an untold story. It is our moral responsibility to give back these people their homes and their country,” said prime minister.

The Secretary-General opened the meeting of some 70 countries as European leaders gathered at the podium of the United Nations to call for a global response to the largest refugee exodus since World War II, which has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding to the continent’s doorstep. He also detailed an eight-point priority plan aimed at dealing with the crisis including opening up more safe and legal avenues for refugees and migrants through proper migration channels.

UN chief told delegates that “the future does not belong to those who seek to build walls or exploit fears”, encouraging states to keep borders open, combat xenophobia and integrate refugees and migrants into society.

Hungary has built high, barbed wire fences along its borders with Serbia to control the massive influx of illegal immigrants after an unprecedented wave of migrants crossed the border from Serbia last month. It’s also considering closing down its frontier with Croatia, building a razor wire fence to keep out the tens of thousands of people on the move. Unlike Hungary, Croatia is not a member of Europe’s Schengen zone of passport-free travel. The tensions between the two countries escalated after Hungary shut down their route from Serbia, forcing the massive crowd to take refuge in Croatia. Closing the Croatia-Hungary borders may force Croatia to transport more migrants into Slovenia which says it can manage an influx of 10,000 per day.

Meantime, Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, after recalling the tragic story of the toddler whose lifeless body washed up on a beach in Turkey last month, urged the United Nations to take swift action to address the deepening crisis in Syria and to protect the millions of people “fleeing war and tyranny.” Turkey has proposed creating a “safe zone” – a protected area near the Turkey-Syria border, free from aerial bombardment by the regime and ground assault by the rebel groups – to cope with the mass influx of refugees from the Middle East. In his address, he said the United Nations had failed to save lives in Syria and stressed that Turkey had “assumed more than its fair share of the burden” from the refugee crisis.