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Migrants: Merkel and Orban clash over Europe's 'humanity'

Last edited 5th July 2018

Migrants: Merkel and Orban clash over Europe's 'humanity'

German leader Angela Merkel has chided Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban over migration, saying they should not forget the issue was about people.

At a joint news conference in Berlin, she said if Europe wanted to retain its soul it could not ignore people's needs and suffering.

But Mr Orban said the best way to be humane was to close borders and help the countries that migrants came from.

EU leaders reached a deal on migration last week.

However, differences remain over its implementation.

The two leaders embody the EU's split over migration. Germany allowed a million people to enter in 2015, while Hungary has so far rejected a scheme to relocate 160,000 refugees from overcrowded camps in Greece and Italy.

Mrs Merkel said Europe should protect its borders but without becoming "some sort of fortress".

"I believe - and this is the difference - Europe's soul is humanity. And if we want to keep that soul, if Europe and its values wants to succeed in the world, then it must not close itself off," she said.

Mr Orban said it was essential to remove pull factors that he said were encouraging people in Africa and Asia to migrate.

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Photo: Arno Mikkor (EU2017EE)

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