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ETUC Slams Hungary’s Public Consultation On Immigration

2015.05.06.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has called on the Hungarian government to stop its public consultations on immigration. “The letter launching the consultation and the attached questionnaire is a perverse attempt to criminalise migrants and fuel populism by making a clear and direct connection between migration and terrorism,” a statement from ETUC sent to Hungarian news agency MTI said. “Wrong assumptions can only lead to bad policies and are surely not in the interests of Hungarian citizens,” it added. The questions to be included in the consultation and the way they are phrased “show clearly the Hungarian government’s opposition to everything the European Union stands for…,” ETUC said.

“Legal debates must not tie us down,” PM Viktor Orbán said in a TV interview last friday, stating that legal issues will need to be addressed only after a public consultation in Hungary has been completed on immigration. “Our community does not want to see immigrants in Hungary”, he said, rejecting the idea that Europeans should scheme to “distribute” immigrants among member states. Hungary should develop its own set of rules on immigration which “will in many respects differ from the current European regulations,” Orbán said. He said he expected a fight but saw a chance for the EU to accept the Hungarian position.

Among the questions in the next national consultation on terrorism, Hungarian 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, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács told media last week.

Meanwhile a report published yesterday by the pollster Tárki claims that anti-foreigner attitudes in Hungary targeted at asylum-seekers have reached record levels. According to the public opinion survey 46 per cent of respondents said that they would not allow any asylum-seekers to enter the country, while 9 per cent would accomodate all asylum-seekers seeking a new home in Hungary and 45 per cent would leave the issue for further consideration.

via hungarymatters.hu, MTI photo: Attila Kovács – MTI