Budapest, August 15 (MTI) – The Liberal party disagrees with the other opposition parties that want voters to boycott the Oct 2 referendum on migrant quotas and is urging citizens to participate in the vote and “stand up for European values”, the party’s foreign policy expert said on Monday.
István Szent-Iványi told public news channel M1 that those who “stand aside” on Oct 2 by abstaining from the vote will be unable to protect European values, Hungary’s belonging to Europe or European solidarity. He said the Liberals have a duty to say “yes” to Europe and solidarity.
Asked whether he thought the opposition parties urging voters to stay home on Oct 2 would blame the Liberals if turnout for the referendum is above the 50 percent validity threshold, Szent-Ivanyi said those parties had already begun blaming them. But the Liberals disagree with “clinging to the myth of the validity threshold,” he said, adding that the question of validity has “no real relevance” in the case of this referendum because it will have “no direct legislative effect”.
Szent-Iványi called the wording of the referendum question “manipulative”, arguing that forced “resettlement” as a concept is non-existent in European Union law.
In the referendum, voters will be asked:
“Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of parliament?”
The EU is merely looking for a way to redistribute refugees across the bloc, but this does not actually mean settling refugees in member states, Szent-Iványi argued. It just means that the EU wants to carry out asylum procedures in a given member state but a member state is free to deny the EU’s requests, he added.
Szent-Iványi said the referendum sends a “very bad political message” and could make European cooperation harder.