Secret pact to settle 500 000 Syrians in EU - Hungarian PM

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (Georges Gobet, AFP)
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (Georges Gobet, AFP)

Budapest - Hungary's prime minister said on Wednesday that he expected a German-led secret pact to be revealed soon that would bring up to 500 000 Syrians from Turkey directly into the European Union, but EU leaders rejected the claim.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said a similar idea was rejected recently by European leaders, but that the new scheme would be announced in Berlin as soon as this week.

"This secret background agreement exists. And we will be confronted by it in the coming days," Orban said at a meeting of Hungarians from around the world. He said the plan included forcing all EU countries to take in some of the migrants, even if they were opposed to mandatory relocation quotas.

EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, however, bluntly rejected Orban's assertion.

"I'll try to explain this in clear terms - nonsense," Timmermans said in Brussels.

On Sunday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had said some EU nations were looking at plans to bring groups of refugees to Europe - "amounts that are much smaller than now".

"I do not recognise myself in something like that," Rutte said when asked about a newspaper claim that there was talk of 400 000 in a first group of migrants. Such figures were also rejected by officials in Belgium.

Orban said there would be "huge pressure" on countries like Hungary and others in the region to take part in the scheme.

Orban, who stated earlier that Europe's Christian identity was at risk from so many Muslims reaching the continent, said asylum-seekers were "overrunning Europe", aided by human smugglers, rights groups and some leading politicians.

"This is the absurd coalition which has resulted in us transporting these people into Europe," Orban said.

Orban repeated his view linking refugees to the deadly Paris attacks, saying the migrant wave was being used to bring "guerrillas" from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan into Europe.

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