Daily News Hungary | Mar 24, 2019 | 1
Hungary’s government sees referendum on migrants as important as NATO, EU referenda
Budapest (MTI) – The government regards its proposal for a referendum on illegal migration as important as the one on Hungary’s NATO and European Union accessions, respectively, government office chief János Lázár said on Thursday.
Lázár told a press conference on Thursday that the European Commission wants to handle this problem with bureaucracy, while the Hungarian government wants to use democracy. He said the EC’s latest proposal which includes mandatory quotas on migrants means “sharing out trouble; the terrorist threat in Europe”. Brussels would also like to determine who can live in Hungary, he said.
Hungarians were asked about NATO accession in 1997 and about EU accession in 2003.
With its resettlement scheme, the EU would not be distributing refugees but “problems”, Lázár said, arguing that 1.5 million people have already entered Europe unchecked. He said some of these people could potentially be members of terrorist groups.
Hungary’s stance is that Europe is not in need of a new “migration scheme” but rather a new Schengen Area defence and border control system, Lázár said. The government will try to convince the leaders of the other three Visegrad Group countries (Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) as well as other European leaders before next month’s EU summit, he said.
The government office chief said the European Commission was attempting to force mandatory migrant quotas onto member states but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is looking for political allies against the plan.
He noted that Hungary has challenged the mandatory quota scheme at the European Court of Justice and that Poland has joined the lawsuit on its side. Germany, Greece, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, France and Belgium have taken the side of the European Commission, he said.
Lázár said the government was holding two separate series of talks with parliamentary parties on “protecting Hungary”. Talks on the planned anti-terror measures are going well, he said, adding that they have entered the phase of expert consultations on amending 23 laws. The government has accepted the opposition’s proposals on the planned amendments to the criminal code as well as on the defence procurements and government surveillance. There are also a number of other proposals that the government is ready to consider, he said.
He said the other series of talks centred on the proposed amendments to the constitution and the national defence law regarding the deployment of the army in a state of crisis due to mass migration. The Socialist Party has chosen not to take part in these talks.
On another subject, the government office chief said Hungary is contributing 4.6 billion forints (EUR 14.8m) to the EU’s aid to Turkey to help migrants.