The EU summit shifted from mandatory to voluntary migrant quotas, and granted Hungary special treatment. Commentators disagree on whether or not the Prime Minister managed to convince the European Union of Hungary’s migration needs.
On Friday, the Council of the European Union decided that the application of EU migration quotas will be voluntary. Council Chairman Donald Tusk announced that the special position and needs of Hungary and Bulgaria will be factored into the calculation of the quotas, since besides Italy, these countries are the main targets of undocumented migrants. As a result, Hungary will need to take in less or no refugees from among those to be transferred from Greece and Italy.
In a front page editorial (probably written before the recognition of Hungary’s special position by the summit), Népszabadság contends that PM Orbán failed to convince the EU leadership that Hungary deserves a special and separate status in migration issues. The left-wing daily acknowledges that Hungary has no capacity to accommodate any more migrants. The paper suspects, however, that the government’s threat to close the border may have been counterproductive, since the announcement sent the message that illegal migrants should hit the road immediately if they want to enter Hungary before border controls become stricter. Népszabadság thinks that the Prime Minister failed to convince EU leaders of Hungary’s need for special attention and help because “PM Orbán is not taken seriously by Brussels even when he has a valid point to make”.
A huge achievement by PM Orbán in Brussels, Péter Magyari comments in 444. The liberal commentator believes that PM Orbán got everything he wanted. The idea of mandatory refugee quotas was dropped, Hungary will have no obligation to take any of the 60,000 refugees promised asylum by the Council, and he has convinced the EU leadership that Hungary needs special attention as a main target of undocumented migrants. Magyari suggests that the government’s threat to suspend the Dublin Agreement (see BudaPost June 25) did have an impact after all: it helped PM Orbán to put Hungary on the EU agenda and convince the Council that it needs special help, similar to that received by Italy.