Hungary should be excluded from the European Union, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said in an interview published Tuesday, taking issue with the country's migration policies weeks before it holds a controversial referendum on refugee quotas.
"Those who - like Hungary - build fences against refugees fleeing war or those who infringe upon press freedom or judicial independence should temporarily - or if needed - permanently be excluded from the EU," Asselborn told the German newspaper Die Welt.
He argued that this is the only way of preserving the cohesion and the values of the bloc.
"The fence that Hungary is building to deter refugees keeps getting longer, higher and more dangerous. Hungary is not far off from [issuing] a firing order against refugees," Asselborn charged.
Hungary would have no chance of joining the EU if it applied for membership today, the long-time Luxembourg politician said.
Hungary became a member of the bloc in 2004. Its conservative prime minister, Viktor Orban, has repeatedly clashed with the EU in recent years over everything from migration and the death penalty to government reforms.
His country will hold a referendum on October 2 asking its population whether it agrees with an EU decision that asylum seekers should be redistributed across the bloc. Orban has been openly hostile to migrants.
Asselborn's comments come days before Orban will meet his EU counterparts at a summit in Bratislava meant to set the direction of the bloc following Britain's shock decision to withdraw.