Budapest, July 6 (MTI) – Lawmakers discussed proposed measures on migration in a debate ahead of a vote on a related law amendment in parliament on Monday.
Antal Rogan, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Fidesz party, said economic migrants should not be welcomed into the country but they should be stopped at “the borders of Hungary and Europe”. He said the only acceptable solution for this is to close down the borders. Fidesz will not support any opposition proposals for accepting more migrants into the country, he said.
Lawmakers then voted to take the Socialist party’s related proposals off the agenda. One of these would have tightened punishments for human trafficking and the other proposed to raise the budgets of the immigration office and police.
Karoly Kontrat, the Fidesz lawmaker sponsoring the bill on a “temporary safety closure” of the border, said migrants who are eligible for international protection should be identified as soon as possible and separated from economic migrants, who should be deported. He emphasised that the border closure will protect Hungary as well as EU countries.
Lajos Kosa (Fidesz) added that political refugee rights are abused en masse and Hungary has become a frontline country for migration.
Tamas Harangozo, spokesman for the opposition Socialists, said the Fidesz government is unable to protect Hungary and the EU’s borders. He criticised Fidesz for proposing that asylum-seekers could be accommodated in any public space, not just at reception centres. “This will mean that thousands including families and children will be pushed onto the streets, public parks, forests,” he said.
Daniel Z Karpat (Jobbik), said his party supports building a fence on Hungary’s border with Serbia and noted the difficulties residents of southern counties face.
Andras Schiffer (LMP) said voting in the tabled proposal would mean that the country “denies a helping hand to those in need”. He said the government was running a propaganda campaign on this issue which had so far cost 1 billion forints. He said there could be a half-way compromise between sealing off reception centres and offering completely free movement and this would be the solution.
Timea Szabo (Dialogue for Hungary – PM) said the debate was not pro or contra immigration as the government portrays it, but it is about whether assistance is given to refugees. She said the 36 billion forints the fence would cost to build was “a waste.”
Zsuzsanna Szelenyi (Egyutt) said 90 percent of migrants who arrive in Hungary leave the country within three weeks. Hungary is a transit country, temporary shelter must be provided. She opposed the fence on the border and said this would only stop entrants temporarily.
Gergely Barandy (Socialists) said migration was a real problem both in the EU and in Hungary but efforts to create conflict between pro-immigration voices and those who are against it was “nothing but hate-mongering”. He said nobody wanted to open doors to all immigrants but currently people leaving the country en masse was a bigger problem.