As the government campaign towards the autumn referendum against the European Commission’s proposals for the relocation of refugees in each country gets underway, commentators ponder the rights and the wrongs of the parties involved in the stand-off between Brussels and Budapest.
In Magyar Idők, Ádám Samu Balázs quotes a recent poll in which 77% of Hungarians reject the idea of ‘compulsory resettlement’, and remarks that the European average is just below 66%. These high ratios should prompt the Union to rethink its policies and refrain from taking decisions on such crucial matters without asking the citizenry. Instead, the European Commission intends to impose a €250,000 ‘fine’ per rejected refugee, which has raised serious concerns in many countries that have been silent on the relocation issue. These include the three Baltic states and Bulgaria. As a result, Balázs suggests, by insisting on its present policy, the EU will enhance the popularity of radical right-wing parties and will contribute to the surge of Euroscepticism throughout the continent.
In Magyar Narancs (print edition), Szilárd Teszár writes that although the planned referendum will be about the quota proposal published by the European Commission at the beginning of May, those proposals are now undergoing revision. In fact, he continues, they will make access for migrants to Europe more difficult and will abandon the idea of ‘compulsory quotas.’ Instead, the Commission plans to stimulate the reception of migrants by introducing the new institution of ‘solidarity contributions’ the sum of which can be reduced by each refugee who is resettled in a given country. This will make legal challenges against the system of fines more difficult. The author believes that by introducing a system of regular and legal relocation of refugees from Turkey to Europe, the European Union would thwart the human trafficking industry and also put an end to unilateral dependence on Turkey. He believes however that such endeavours to create a new joint European immigration policy will meet strong resistance from national leaders whose main priority is to enhance their own popularity at home.
Magyar Hírlap’s Mariann Őry deplores what she calls ‘the appropriation of our words’ by liberal elites. By solidarity and openness they mean unfettered and un-vetted immigration; by diversity they mean the smallest possible number of European children in schools, she claims. And ‘most maddeningly’ of all, by Europe they mean the European Union. Anyone criticising its current procedures or expressing doubts about the democratic character of its institutions is branded as anti-European, she complains. However, she finds Switzerland more democratic than Molenbeek, (the Brussels district which was home to the perpetrators of last year’s Paris shootings and this year’s terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital). She agrees with leading Austrian Freedom Party politician Harald Wilimsky, who has said that the diversity of Europe’s peoples should be protected against dissolution into a United States of Europe.
Writing on immigration issues in his weekly Demokrata column, Péter Farkas Zárug finds the position of the Austrian Freedom Party – which narrowly lost the presidential elections last week against a Green candidate backed by practically all the remaining political forces – similar to Hungarian PM Victor Orbán’s stance. Both believe that Hungarians and Austrians have a right to determine whom they want to live with. This is what most Austrians mean by being European, he adds. The immigration issue has put an end to an era of lukewarm internal politics in Austria, with passionately opposing sides in the arena. While the Freedom Party candidate won in the rural areas, Zárug continues, the Green candidate was successful in the cities in some of which first and second generation immigrants amount to 40% of the population. He draws the conclusion that for electoral purposes the left is deeply interested in increasing the inflow of migrants.
In a highly sarcastic piece on 444.hu, Márton Bede describes his journey to Bologna, Italy where he found Third World migrants’in every street as well as in the shops. He says he was absolutely horrified ‘as a real European’ and in an ironical concluding remark he urges Hungary to erect a wall along its western borders too – ‘a cultural curtain, behind which we can live in safety as Europeans’.