Budapest (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hailed the result of Hungary’s referendum on European migrant quotas as “outstanding”, arguing that the number of votes cast for the “no” side had exceeded the number of votes cast in favour of Hungary joining the EU in 2004.
In the referendum on Hungary’s European Union membership, 3,056,000 people voted to join the bloc and now 3,204,000 people voted “no”, discounting the votes cast by ethnic Hungarians living beyond the border, Orbán said.
He said that turnout in the referendum was 15 percent higher than in the last European parliamentary election in 2014. Commenting on the result, the prime minister said: “The weapon will be strong enough in Brussels.”
“We can be proud that we Hungarians were the first and so far only member state in the EU to voice our opinion on the issue of migration. This was the right thing to do. It was the honourable thing to do,” Orbán said.
The question of “whom we will live with; what will become of our culture and our way of life” would be one of the most important in the coming years, the prime minister said.
The question now is how the EU responds to the modern-day “mass migration wave”. The EU’s proposal has been to let migrants in and distribute them among member states, he said, stressing that in the referendum Hungarians had made clear that only they can decide with whom they live.
“Brussels or Budapest. That was the question. And we decided that the right to decide lies solely with Budapest,” he said.
Orbán said the referendum was the first important step of a “long journey” ahead. Hungary would have to fight many tough battles along the way, he added.