Hungary to close migrant reception center, says habits of residents a threat

Officials say Hungary wants to close its largest reception center for refugees in the eastern city of Debrecen by the end of November.

Lajos Kosa, head of the governing Fidesz party’s parliamentary group, said the plan by Interior Minister Sandor Pinter, to be discussed Friday by the Cabinet, proposes the dismantling of the center, whose grounds could be used later as a police station.

Kosa said the habits of some of those in the reception center were a threat to Debrecen’s inhabitants and the reputation of the city’s university attended by some 3,500 foreign students. He did not explain his statement.

Babar Baloch, a spokesman for the United Nations’ refugee agency, said there were 260 refugees now at the Debrecen center which has room for 930 people. They are expected to be taken to other camps, including one in the town of Bicske, near Budapest.

Baloch said Hungary’s approach to refugees and asylum seekers “has been restrictive and very concerning to UNHCR,” adding that the organization continues to “advocate for a collective EU response to the current refugee crisis.”