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Parliament approves referendum on EU migrant quotas

May 13th, 2016

The leading pro-government daily welcomes the referendum against mandatory EU migrant redistribution quotas, a conservative columnist likens the EU to dictatorships while a liberal columnist accuses the government of fomenting hatred.

Ferenc Kis in Magyar Idők contends that the referendum on EU migrant quotas is intended to save Hungary and Europe from an existential threat. The pro-government columnist considers mass migration as a grave threat to security, and he fears that unless their flow of migrants is stopped, Europeans may become second-class citizens in their own homelands. Kis adds that migrants to Europe want to live in wealthy Western European countries, and thus their forced redistribution to other EU member states would be inhumane. Kis accuses EU leaders of serving the interests of “internationalist economic interest groups that want to achieve their aims against the will of nation states and voters”. However, the resignation of Austrian Chancellor (see BudaPost May 11) show that voters cannot be ignored without grave consequences, Kis remarks.

In Heti Válasz, editor-in-chief Gábor Borókai in his weekly column notes that forcing mandatory immigration quotas on EU member states is a violation of basic democratic principles. The conservative pundit likens the EU’s approach and rhetoric to past dictatorships that wanted force their will on people. In an aside, Borókai estimates that more than half of migrants are not eligible for refugee status, and thus it cannot be considered a moral duty to provide them with shelter.

The referendum on EU migrant quotas is absurd and inhumane, Mária Vásárhelyi writes in 168 Óra. The liberal commentator thinks that the referendum which will cost cca. 6 billion Forints is pointless, as the EU would not introduce mandatory migrant quotas, but would only reallocate asylum seekers, and the decision about their refugee status would be left for the national government. And even if the referendum is successful, the EU still has the right to push through legislation if it is approved by the European Parliament and the European Council, Vásárhelyi adds. She goes on to note that offering shelter for persecuted people is not only the dictate of international law, but also the cornerstone of Jewish-Christian civilizational values. In conclusion, Vásárhelyi suspects that the government’s real aim is to foment hatred which, according to the liberal pundit, will further weaken Hungarian societal values.


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