Austria's chancellor used a controversial Holocaust reference on Saturday, subtly comparing Hungary's treatment of the Syrian migrant crisis to Jews transported to concentration camps.
"Refugees put on trains in the belief they are going somewhere else entirely brings back memories of the darkest period of our continent,” Chancellor Werner Faymann told the German Spiegel magazine, apparently referencing Hungary's deportation of Jews in 1944.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban quickly dismissed the comments, saying they were "utterly unworthy of a 21st century European leader."
Some 50,000 migrants entered Hungary last month via the western Balkans, according to AFP, Hungary has responded with tough new anti-immigration measures – and by building a 110 mile (177-km) long barbed wire fence along its border with Serbia to keep out more migrants.
The country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has said Hungary did not want more Muslim migrants and warned Europe would lose its Christian identity.
Orban has taken a tough stance against the migrants, ordering Hungary to close its borders on Tuesday and sending migrants to specialized camps for processing instead of to major cities.
In one incident earlier this month, hundreds of migrants boarded a train in Budapest, believing they were to arrive in Austria, only to be unloaded some 22 miles (35 km) west of the capital and settled in one such camp in the city of Biscke.
Orban has also faced criticism for stating openly that the migrants were "safer" in the turbulent Middle East.
"These migrants are not coming to us from war zones but rather from camps in countries neighboring Syria like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey," Orban stated to the Bild. "They were safe there.'