A group of eastern European countries yesterday rejected the EU's new plan for handling migrants because it was not tough enough, dealing a blow to efforts to solve one of Europe's thorniest problems.
The leaders of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic -- who all have a tough anti-immigration stance -- held talks with top EU officials as the bloc tries to reform asylum rules five years after the continent was engulfed by a migrant crisis.
The European Commission, the bloc's executive, published new plans on Wednesday for tougher border controls and streamlined procedures for expelling rejected asylum seekers.
But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the measures did not go far enough, insisting refugees must be screened in camps outside Europe.
"There is no breakthrough," Orban told reporters after talks in Brussels with his Czech and Polish counterparts and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
"They would like to manage migration and not to stop the migrants," Orban said. "The Hungarian position is: 'Stop the migrants'. That's two different things."
Under the plan, EU countries that do not want to take in more migrants could instead take charge of sending those, whose asylum requests are rejected, back to their homelands.
The EU's plans also disappointed those on the other side of the debate, migrant rights activists condemning them as caving to xenophobia and populism.