Hungarians “Should Decide On Immigration Issue”

  • 20 May 2015 2:00 AM
Hungarians “Should Decide On Immigration Issue”
Experience shows that regulating immigration from Brussels has proven a failure, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told reporters in Strasbourg. Decisions on whether a country wants to receive refugees should be made at national level, he said. Hungary wants its citizens to be allowed to decide whether or not there should be immigrants on Hungarian territory, the prime minister said before addressing European Parliament. “Regulating immigration from Brussels has proven a fiasco.

We pin even less hopes on centrally regulated quotas,” he said. Orbán said there were certain former empires that were used to receiving an influx of immigrants from their former colonies.

“We consider it one of our values that Hungary is a homogenous country in terms of its culture, mindset and customs,” the prime minister said, adding that “immigration in Hungary would lead to insurmountable tensions.”

It is now impossible for the EU to find common ground on the issue, which was why member states should be given the right to decide on it themselves, he insisted. Two-thirds of the union’s population support the free movement of labour within the EU’s borders, while two-thirds, on the other hand, are against immigration from non-EU countries, he said.

Hungary is not the only European Union member state to reject the European Commission’s proposed quota system for receiving refugees, Szabolcs Takács, cabinet state secretary for European affairs, said in Brussels.

Hungary’s stance is fully endorsed by the Visegrád Group countries, the Baltic states, France and Britain, Takács said at a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council, where the main topic of discussion was immigration.

A clear distinction must be made between immigrants and refugees, he said, noting that the European Council discussed the issue of immigration on April 23 and the commission released a document on its immigration strategy on May 13.

Hungary sees immigration as a complex issue and is aware that European countries have a moral and humanitarian duty toward those eligible for refugee status, the state secretary said. He said Hungary would fulfil these obligations and fully comply with international treaties.

Addressing the debate, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi tore up a sheet of paper which he said was the national consultation questionnaire. The politician said the consultation was in reality a “Goebbels-like brainwashing technique”.

Dialogue for Hungary MEP Benedek Jávor said Orbán was “getting to be more and more like [radical nationalist] Jobbik”. Fidesz MEP Kinga Gál said the wording of the government’s questionnaire reflected the concerns of the people.

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MTI photo: Koszticsák Szilárd

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