Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó suggested setting up offshore refugee processing centers in an interview with Foreign Policy on Thursday.
Szijjártó referenced island camps erected by Australia on the neighboring islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, camps which have been criticized by human rights organizations for being inhumane. Szijjártó told Foreign Policy that he’s “not sure those reports are fair”, and that the island detention centers are examples of what could be done in Europe and “something that seems to be actually working”.
His comments are similar to those made by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in an interview he gave only hours earlier to daily online Origo.hu. In the interview he suggested rounding up illegal immigrants and taking them to large detention centers.
“But not into other countries, but outside of the European Union,” Orbán said. “The question is to where. In our own Schengen 2.0 plan of action we say that we must erect big refugee camps outside the area of the EU, with armed EU security forces and with EU financial assistance. Everyone who came in illegally must go there. They can submit their application from there, and if there is an accepting country, then they can come. Until then they must remain in the big camp outside the European Union. This could be an island, too, or it could be a North African coastal area, but it would be in its own interests for the EU to guarantee the safety and administration of that area.”
Neither Szijjártó nor Orbán made specific suggestions as to what islands might be used to build the detention camps.