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BERLIN – Hungary's hard-line prime minister has proposed that the European Union step up aid to Syria's neighbors to stem the flow of refugees from camps there, while Germany's vice chancellor said Saturday that his nation is "reaching limits."
The 28-nation European Union is divided over how to deal with the influx, with Germany and Austria stressing the right to asylum for war refugees and Hungary in particular arguing that most are economic migrants. Hungary and other eastern nations reject proposed quotas to spread the migrants around the EU.
Hungary plans to start enforcing tougher frontier security on its border with Serbia Tuesday. Asked in an interview with German daily Bild where future migrants should go, Orban replied, "to where they came from."
He argued that people coming to Europe from camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey "were safe there" and added: "There is no fundamental right to a better life, only a right to safety and human dignity."
Orban suggested every EU country pay 1 percent extra into the EU budget while reducing other spending. He was quoted as saying that that would generate 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for aid, which could be increased "until the stream of refugees dries up."
Aydan Ozoguz, a senior German government official responsible for immigrant issues, said that "the pace at which people are fleeing from the region is breathtaking."
But "I must say that I find what Mr. Orban is saying extremely cynical, that they're safe there," she said on Germany's rbb-Inforadio. "Everyone who has been following this knows that the food rations there have been halved — one really can't speak of safety."
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Saturday that "Germany sees itself in a situation where we are reaching limits," news agency dpa reported. He added that "the speed is almost more problematic than the number."
Gabriel said it's important to help the region around Syria and talk to Turkey, where migrants set off in boats for EU member Greece, about how to slow the flow.