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Pundits strike back after Schulz attacks Hungarian referendum

March 26th, 2016

Right-wing commentators ridicule European Parliament President Martin Schulz for denouncing the planned Hungarian referendum on migrant quotas, and attack the Mayor of Szeged, whom he praised.

In an op-ed piece in right-wing Magyar Hírlap, Ottó Nagy calls Mr. Schulz a dim-witted representative of a distressed EU bureaucracy. Terror attacks in Spain, London and Brussels are ‘directly or indirectly’ the ‘results’ of the EP President’s fight to make external EU borders safer, the author notes in bitter irony, quoting Schulz from a recently published interview by Stern magazine in which the politician admitted that despite his efforts not much happened in the area in the past 20 years. The Hungarian government’s plan to hold a referendum on migrant quotas (see BudaPost, February 26th, 2016) is ‘not only absurd, but perfidious too’, Martin Schulz was quoted as saying in an interview published by German magazine Stern on Wednesday. He strongly criticized eastern European member states, first of all Hungary, for rejecting the idea of what Schulz calls a ‘just redistribution’ of migrants among EU countries. He also noted, however, that even in Hungary there were places that do not reject migrants. He brought up Szeged as an example in the interview, citing the city as a firmly left-wing place where ‘any migrants would be safe to go’. On Thursday Fidesz, quoting Schulz’s line, jumped on Szeged Mayor László Botka, a possible Socialist prime ministerial candidate in the next parliamentary election, suggesting he made a ‘secret pact’ with the EP President to accommodate migrants in Szeged. Botka called the allegation ‘madness’ which he finds difficult to comment on. Nagy also notes in his article, that probably even Botka himself was surprised by the extent of the praise he got from Mr. Schulz.

Magyar Idők‘s editorial also quotes this part of Stern’s interview, emphasizing that this was the worst possible timing for the mayor, who is just bracing himself for the upcoming leadership election of the Socialist Party. Nevertheless, László Néző seems to believe a pact to settle migrants in Szeged may exist anyway, and asks the mayor: if there is a pact, why did he keep it from his voters?

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