Interview: Budapest made clear: Dublin has failed!
From Thursday, September 3, to Monday, September 7, 2015, Terry visited Hungary. She met with Migration Aid and went to see the transit zones at Nyugati Railway Station and Keleti Railway Station.
This interview was first published in Hungarian on index.hu
What did you see at the railway stations?
The situation is dramatic. Much worse than everything I would have expected. This is a humanitarian crisis. People who have lost everything, who fled from war and destruction and came to Europe hoping for help are completely left alone. Only Hungarian volunteers are providing them with very basic medical care, food and shelter.
I saw a baby girl, Sadan, who was born in the train station six days ago. I will never forget that moment. We need to act now.
How do you feel the Hungarian government is handling the crisis?
The problem is: The Hungarian government is not handling this crisis. Instead of helping the people, they ignore the situation and politically instrumentalise it to put through their political agenda, taking basic rights away from Hungarian citizens. If Victor Orban really is a Christian – this is the time to show compassion!
Any ideas of how to handle it better?
There needs to be a humanitarian intervention. The refugees in Budapest need shelter, they need food, hygienic and medical supplies. The UNHCR offered help which was refused – this is unbelievable!
In the long term, we need a new EU asylum policy which respects the basic rights of the refugees. Budapest made clear: Dublin has failed!
Is it a Hungarian or a pan-EU problem? Who should solve it and how?
The refugee crisis is definitely a EU problem. But, the Orban government is responsible for the escalation of the situation in Budapest.
What could Germany do better to help refugees?
The German government needs to put pressure on Orban to let people leave. To suspend Dublin, a faulty policy from the start, was the right move. Now everything needs to be done to solve the situation in Budapest and, in the long run, to create a fair and welcoming EU refugee policy.
What is the Greens‘ take on German migration policy?
As Greens we have said this for a long time: The dysfunctional and inhuman Dublin system has to be replaced. We need a solution which insures a fair distribution of asylum seekers across all member states. The current crisis is in fact a direct result of the refusal by the EU member states to come to a common and coordinated immigration and asylum policy over the last years.
Any other thoughts, insights about your experience are welcome!
The EU flag at the Hungarian parliament has been taken down by the government, the refugees walking to the Austrian border from Budapest right now are holding it up. The message is clear: The EU will have to show now where we are heading. Towards a European Union of democracy, diversity and human rights. Or an authoritarian and short sighted Union driven by national egoism.
Do you think Germany can be blamed for miscommunicating that they would take in all Syrian asylum seekers? The BAMF statement was interpreted first as if everyone can go from all over Europe. Merkel later specified that it’s only about those who are already there and she expects Hungary to adhere to Dublin. What do you think about the statements and their effect on the refugees stranded in Budapest train stations?
This situation and the chaotic communication just shows again that the Dublin system has failed. Now it is up to the EU leaders to take this chance, to bring down the fortress, take responsibility and develop a fair and welcoming asylum system.
Any comment on the fact that Austria let the migrants who walked into the country? Don’t you think this could lead to a situation where people will feel they can automatically get to Western Europe as soon as they reach the border?
In the situation at hand welcoming people in was the only option. If Europe really wants to be the place of human rights and democracy, now is the time to develop a new asylum system which permits legal and safe ways for people to come to Europe. The refugees who are coming are fleeing from war and destruction. They need protection and perspectives.