Budapest (AFP) - Talking about imposing quotas on how many migrants each EU member state should take in is futile as long as Europe's outer borders are not secure, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Monday.
"The Hungarian standpoint does not exclude that at some point it will be possible to discuss a quota system in an intelligent and fair way," Orban said in a speech to foreign ambassadors in Budapest.
"Our problem is with the timing, as long as we can't defend Europe's outer borders, it is not worth talking about how many people we can take in," he said.
"The quota system wants to treat the effects before it treats the causes of immigration. The main reason for this is because it cannot control its outer borders," he said.
On Saturday Orban went further, saying: "What does that solve if we divide up 100,000 people, while in the meantime millions are coming?"
EU member Hungary has struggled to cope with more than 150,000 migrants entering the country this year, including 50,000 in August alone and several thousand every day.
On Friday it took thousands to the border with Austria in buses. Austria allowed them to cross and provided buses and trains to take them to Vienna and cities in Germany. Some 15,000 passed through over the weekend.
Hungary has put in place a razor-wire barrier along its southern border with Serbia in an effort to stop migrants passing through. In addition it is also building a fence four metres (12 feet) high.
Europe's migrant crisis has exposed sharp rifts in the 28-nation European Union, with Germany leading calls to take in many more people fleeing war and upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa.
However, newer eastern member states led by Hungary bluntly oppose European Commission plans for mandatory quotas and a permanent admission mechanism, saying that would only encourage more migrants to risk their lives coming to Europe.