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Hungarian Cabinet Launches National Consultation On Immigration As Debate Heats Up In Europe

Tamás Székely 2015.04.27.

A change in the Hungarian government’s immigration policy requires wider social support, and therefore the Government has put together a questionnaire of twelve questions as part of a national consultation concerning immigration, economic immigration and terrorism, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said. Among the questions in the next national consultation terrorism, citizens will be asked whether or not illegal border-crossers should be detained for a period longer than 24 hours, despite the European Union prohibiting such a measure, and whether immigrants who are proven to be taking advantage of European regulations should be immediately expelled and whether they should be expected to work while in Hungary to defray the cost of accommodation and food, Zoltán Kovács said. He added it would be up to experts and parliament to work out how to combat illegal migration. The questionnaires containing 12 questions will be mailed to all citizens aged over 18—altogether 8 million people—from early May, and expected to be returned by the deadline of July 1, he said.

PM Viktor Orbán told Kossuth Rádió in his regular Friday morning interview that it was not enough to defend the borders of Europe but policies must be put in place to help stoke a desire in potential refugees to stay in their homelands. Commenting on Thursday’s Brussels special summit on the issue of refugees, he noted that the EU is tripling funding for the rescue of migrants from North Africa crossing the Mediterranean. According to the Prime Minster it is not enough to defend Europe’s borders but policies must help stoke a desire in potential refugees to stay in their homelands. He added that the summit focused on refugees arriving by sea but Hungary is affected by refugees arriving on land, which will be discussed by the EU in June. Orbán reiterated that it would be better if each individual EU member state could decide on which measures to implement in order to put a brake on the wave of refugees.

The left-wing opposition Együtt (Together) party said that there was no need for a national consultation on illegal migration. Such a consultation would be a waste of taxpayer money. The Hungarian Liberal Party said it saw no reason for a national consultation, arguing that the prime minister should instead discuss the issue with his European colleagues and migration experts. Radical nationalist party Jobbik said it welcomed the government’s “recognition” of the importance of tackling immigration, but this can only be done by more effective border control. This view is that contrary to the “dreams” expressed by the government spokesman earlier, Dániel Kárpát, Jobbik’s group leader, said. Jobbik believes that Hungary should make its open reception centres closed and it should reinstate the border guard service, which was earlier merged with the police.

via hungarymatters.hu kormany.hu photo: indafoto.hu