Luxembourg FM: Expel Hungary From EU

Luxembourg FM: Expel Hungary From EULuxembourg FM: Expel Hungary From EU

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has called for Hungary to be suspended or even expelled from the European Union because of its “massive violation” of EU fundamental values. He cited the Budapest government’s treatment of refugees, independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press, BBC reported.

“Hungary is not far away from issuing orders to open fire on refugees,” he suggested. Hungary said Asselborn “could not be taken seriously”. EU leaders meet in Slovakia on Friday to discuss the union’s future. Asselborn’s interview with German daily Die Welt is likely to inflame passions ahead of the summit.

The EU could not tolerate “such inappropriate behavior”, he said, and any state that violated such basic values “should be excluded temporarily, or if necessary for ever, from the EU’’. It was “the only possibility to protect the cohesion and values of the European Union,’’ he said.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto hit back, saying that his Luxembourg counterpart had “long left the ranks of politicians who could be taken seriously”. Asselborn was a “frivolous character”, he said, adding that he was “patronizing, arrogant and frustrated”.

Hungary joined the EU in 2004 and while the European Union can reject or delay a candidate from joining, it is not thought to have the power to expel an existing member state.

When the far-right Freedom Party joined Austria’s government in 2000, EU member states responded by freezing bilateral diplomatic relations with Austria. Later that year, the EU ended Austria’s diplomatic isolation.

Hungary was caught up in an enormous influx of migrants and refugees a year ago, as more than a million people headed through central Europe from the shores of Greece toward Germany and other Western European countries.

Eventually, it sealed its borders with Serbia and Croatia and built a 175-km (110-mile) razor-wire fence to stop people crossing on their way to Austria. Some 10,000 police and soldiers have been deployed to guard the frontier.