Luxembourg’s foreign minister on Tuesday called for Hungary to be kicked out of the European Union for treating refugees “worse than wild animals.”
Jean Asselborn called for a temporary or permanent expulsion for the central European country in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt.
“We cannot accept that the basic values of the European Union are being so seriously breached,” he said.
“Anyone who, like Hungary, builds fences against refugees from war or who violates press freedom and judicial independence should be excluded temporarily, or if necessary forever, from the EU.”
Asselborn said changing EU rules to make it easier to expel Hungary was “the only way of preserving the cohesion and values of the European Union.”
Hungary built a razor-wire fence over 100 miles long last year to stem the flow of migrants entering the country, most of them enroute to northern European nations from countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 1 million migrants entered Germany last year.
Hungary will hold a referendum on October 2 on EU proposals to relocate asylum-seekers among member states using mandatory quotas, a plan that is opposed by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Last month, a Human Rights Watch report said that Hungarian police and soldiers beat migrants and forced them back across the border to neighboring Serbia.
Also Tuesday, the Elders, a human rights group made up of global leaders and founded by Nelson Mandela, criticized an agreement by the EU to send migrants back to Turkey in return for financial aid.
The group said the deal was a “bad example” to other countries, was “morally dubious” and might be illegal under international law.