23:20 GMT +323 February 2018
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    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for an EU summit at the EU Headquarters in Brussels on June 25, 2015

    White Lie: Berlin Allegedly Opened Borders After Orban's Refugee Fib

    © AFP 2018/ JOHN THYS
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    Last year the Hungarian government told Berlin and Vienna that there were less than 1,000 refugees waiting to travel to Germany, German magazine Bild reported on Wednesday.

    In September 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel astonished observers when she decided to open Germany's borders to thousands of migrants, many of whom were waiting in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.

    Consequently, during 2015 a record 1.1 million refugees and migrants entered Germany, and September was a record month in which between 270,000 and 280,000 newcomers arrived in Germany, according to official figures.

    On Wednesday the German magazine Bild reported government sources in Berlin and Vienna, who said that Merkel's government made the unexpected decision after Hungary deliberately misinformed them about the number of migrants waiting to enter Germany.

    Migrants sit in front of Budapest's Keleti (East) railway station on September 2, 2015
    Migrants sit in front of Budapest's Keleti (East) railway station on September 2, 2015
    According to confidential documents seen by the newspaper, on Friday September 4 the Hungarian government headed by Victor Orban told the Austrians that there were "almost 1,000" refugees on their way to the Hungarian – Austrian border, aiming to travel to Germany.

    However, over the following weekend German police authorities reported that not 1,000 but 20,000 migrants arrived in Germany.

    "We expected one to three thousand people, in a one-time event, no more," Berlin government sources told Bild.

    "What was coming to us should have been manageable," said a Foreign Ministry official in Vienna.

    One high-ranking EU diplomat said that Orban's move instantly rid his country of Europe's migrant problem.

    "On that day, Orban made his country completely refugee-free," they told Bild.


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    migration, migrants, Angela Merkel, Viktor Orban, Hungary
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