Majority of Hungarians support stricter migration rules, says govt spox – UPDATE
Budapest, July 27 (MTI) – The vast majority of Hungarians who returned the government’s questionnaire on migration said that tighter regulations are needed both on a national and a European level to stem the flow of illegal migrants into Hungary, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said on Monday.
A negligible amount of respondents disagreed with the statements in the questionnaire, Kovacs told a press conference.
The spokesman said 70 percent of respondents considered the spread of terrorism a trend with an impact on their own lives, with 25 percent being uncertain and 3.6 percent saying they did not consider it important. Kovacs said 39.3 percent of respondents thought there was a “serious” chance for a terrorist attack on Hungarian soil, while 56 percent said it was “possible”. A mere 3.7 percent said there was no chance for such an attack.
Fully 61 percent of respondents said they saw a link between the growing threat of terrorism and “Brussels’ ill-controlled migration policy”, while 27.8 percent said they “mostly agreed” and 11.1 percent said they saw no such link.
Kovacs said 97 percent of respondents said the rise of economic migration was a “real” issue, while 72.6 percent said they were “aware” of the problem, 23.4 percent said they had “heard” of it, and 3.9 percent had no knowledge of the issue.
The government spokesman said 72.7 percent of respondents said they “fully agreed” that their jobs could be under threat from economic migrants, with 18.8 percent saying they “mostly agreed” and 8.5 percent saying they did not feel threatened.
Fully 77.4 percent of respondents said Brussels’ policies on migration had failed and that new regulations were needed, 17.5 percent said they “mostly agreed” with this position, while 5 percent disagreed. No less than 89.7 percent said they would support the government’s implementing stricter migration rules, 7.5 percent said they would partly support such measures, while 2.8 percent said they would not support stricter rules. Kovacs said responses given to this question greatly influenced the government’s decision to implement a temporary border closure and order the construction of a fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia.
Kovacs said 87.9 percent of respondents agreed that illegal border crossers should be detained, while 9.3 percent partly agreed and 2.8 percent disagreed with such an approach. No less than 86.1 percent “fully agreed” that illegal border crossers should be turned back, 10.2 percent partly agreed and 3.6 percent of respondents disagreed.
Kovacs said 82.7 percent said economic migrants should contribute to the costs of their reception and placement, 13.5 percent partly agreed with this statement and 3.8 percent disagreed.
Fully 60.6 percent of respondents said EU member states aiding countries from where migrants originate was an effective way of managing the crisis, while 15 percent disagreed with such steps. Twenty-four percent partly agreed with the approach.
The government spokesman said 92.9 percent of respondents said supporting Hungarian families and children was more important than supporting migrants. A further 5.3 percent of respondents partly agreed, while 1.7 percent disagreed with the statement.
Kovacs reiterated earlier statements by Prime Minister Viktor Orban that the border fence must be completed as soon as possible.
A total of 1,000,254 people returned the questionnaire, Kovacs said. Fully 58,000 Hungarians responded online.
Kovacs told public news channel M1 on Monday evening that the national consultation on migration has also shown that a campaign of provocative jokes generated by the opposition parties did not work. Some 15,000 of the returned questionnaires were damaged or contained notes that made them unsuitable for assessment, he added.
He said the number of illegal migrants is expected to be up at 100,000 by the end of this week.
Some 900 people are working on a fence currently under construction along Hungary’s border with Serbia and once this is completed, the number of illegal migrants arriving through this stretch of the border is expected to drop to one-fifth or possibly to one-seventh, he added.