Budapest, May 4 (MTI) – Three rights organisations and a think-tank criticised a recent Kuria decision giving the green light to a government-initiated referendum on migrant quotas, in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Citizens in the proposed referendum would be asked:
“Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the approval of parliament?”
The Eötvös Károly Institute, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) and Political Capital said that the question does not fall within parliament’s authority and “falsely suggests” that the outcome of a national referendum would eventually oblige parliament to pass a decision that could “override” a common decision made on an EU-level.
The government defines Hungary’s position on the quota system and parliament has no influence on that position, they added.
The civil groups also said the wording of the question was ambiguous, leaving the exact subject of the referendum unclear.
It is also unclear what legal obligations the national assembly would have after the referendum, they said, adding that the outcome would then give the government a “blank cheque.”
A referendum should be an instrument of “complementing” or “counter-balancing” the government’s actions, but the incumbent cabinet has changed the referendum law under which it has become “extremely difficult” for the opposition to initiate a national vote on any matter, they said.
The planned referendum does not serve the objective of expressing the public’s will, it only serves the government’s political goals, the four organisations insisted.
In its response, ruling Fidesz said that the statement was an attack on the referendum initiative by “pro-immigration groups”. Those organisations “supporting pro-immigration policy and pro-immigration parties of the Left in fact seek to get immigrants to Hungary and to Europe, while the government is protecting the borders of Hungary and of the European Union,” Fidesz said.