Budapest, June 24 (MTI) – Several opposition parties called on the Hungarian government to respond to the outcome of the UK referendum on leaving the EU by withdrawing a referendum on the EU’s migrant quota scheme set for September.
The opposition Együtt party said the UK vote has given warning that EU member states should strive for closer cooperation. Viktor Szigetvári, the party’s leader, said the result was regrettable as it would weaken both the European community and Britain itself. He called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to stop “stirring up emotions against Europe with his anti-European referendum campaign”. Együtt will boycott the Hungarian referendum on the EU’s migrant quota regime, he said. He added that Hungary should do all it can to protect the rights of Hungarians working in the UK in light of Brexit.
The Liberals also called on the government to withdraw the referendum on migrant quotas. The party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Istvan Szent-Ivanyi, said the referendum adds to similar emotional warfare that has led to Brexit in the UK.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party said the UK leave vote had been “history’s largest smack in the face”, noting that Brussels must now “re-examine its approach and stop ignoring the will of nation states”. Marton Gyöngyösi, a lawmaker for the party, said the British vote is a signal to Hungary, too, that it is “possible to fight for new conditions”.
The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) called for the Hungarian referendum on quotas to be cancelled as it would “lead to Hungary’s exit from the EU”. Csaba Molnár, the party’s deputy leader, told a press conference on Friday that the outcome of the EU vote was “tragic” and that it was the result of an anti-EU campaign by the conservative right run over the past 20 years. That campaign turned into an anti-immigration one and it is similar to what Orban was pursuing in Hungary.
The co-ruling Christian Democrats said Brexit was a warning that “the European Union’s leadership, operations and efficiency must be changed in future”. This result is about a “crisis of values and in many cases about an inability to act,” the party said in a statement.
The opposition Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party said the government should engage in talks immediately with the British government on protecting the welfare rights of Hungarians working there. Tímea Szabó, the party’s co-leader, told a press conference on Friday that the government should do all it can to protect the 300,000 Hungarians so that they would not have to “come home to a gruesome situation”. Benedek Javor, MEP for the PM party, said the weakening of Europe puts the wind in Russia’s sails, and the Hungarian government “mustn’t assist in this process any longer”.
The opposition LMP party said bad EU leadership and policies have led to Brexit, but the Hungarian government’s number one task now is to protect the interests of Hungarians in the country. LMP supports Hungary’s EU membership but it would renegotiate the bloc’s basic charter, for one, to exclude farmland from the free movement of capital clause.
József Tóbiás, leader of the Socialist party, said at a press conference that the Hungarian government’s EU quota referendum could be the first step to Hungary leaving the union. He added that as a result of Brexit economic growth would slow in Hungary and EU funding will diminish, while it remains moot what happens to the 300,000 Hungarians working in the UK. He said while “European leaders are holding crisis summits to deal with problems at a joint level, Orban is trying to link the migrant issue to his own referendum”. He said Hungary would pay a large price if it continues down the road of the government’s populist policies that have brought conflict and divisions on European matters over the past years.
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