Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms and other Green MEPs are currently in Hungary to assess the situation on the ground and the government's response to the refugee crisis. Commenting from Budapest, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"The lack of any proper, coherent response means the thousands of refugees in Budapest's train stations are faced with ever-worsening conditions, with sick children and no medical assistance. There is a lack of water, sanitation, food, shelter and medical aid; at the same time, the Hungarian government is refusing to accept humanitarian aid and has even rejected UNHCR support.
"A coordinated response through agencies like the UNHCR and the Red Cross is urgently needed, as the over-stretched Hungarian civil society is not able to fill the gap. The Hungarian government must immediately allow this humanitarian response. EU governments must put pressure on Viktor Orban to ensure that the refugees are not left to suffer as a result of his inhumane and anti-European politics. The refugees currently in Hungary must be granted refuge in other European countries."
Commenting on the news that the European Commission will propose an updated system for the redistribution of 160,000 asylum seekers across the EU, Green MEP Ska Keller, who is the European Parliament's rapporteur/draftsperson on the original draft scheme for redistributing 40,000 refugees (1), said:
"The anticipated plans from the EU Commission setting out a binding key for the redistribution of 120,000 additional refugees are a step in the right direction (1). In increasing the scale of the scheme, as well as ensuring it applies to refugees in Hungary, as well as Italy and Greece, the Commission has responded somewhat to the changed reality. This refugee crisis can only be addressed if EU member states act together. They cannot simply stand idly by while those who have come to Europe to seek protection from war and persecution are left to further suffer.
"We urgently need to find a solution to ensuring a fair distribution of asylum seekers across all EU member states, with a binding and permanent system. The European Parliament is set to vote to support this principle next week. We cannot continue stumbling from one set of emergency measures to the next, as this is compounding the suffering of those who have already suffered so much."
(1) The European Parliament will next week vote on the Keller report, which sets out the EP's position on the original scheme proposed by the EU Commission for the redistribution of 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece. The Commission is expected to propose updating this scheme to provide for the relocation of 120,000 additional refugees, including from Hungary. This would bring the total number covered under the redistribution scheme to 160,000.