news letter

Weekly newsletter

EU Summit In Brussels: Hungary To Keep Fighting Against Mandatory Quota System

By Tamás Székely // 2016.03.18.

Hungary wants to ensure that any scheme to relocate refugees under a pact between the EU and Turkey should only be carried out on a voluntary basis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said. Orbán told reporters ahead of a European Union summit in Brussels that Hungary would take part in the talks of EU heads of state and government based on the premise that “if there will be an agreement with Turkey it should only contain voluntary and not mandatory measures for the relocation of migrants coming from Turkey.”

In answer to a journalist’s question, the Viktor Orbán said that he believes there is a chance of achieving this goal. He added that in the debate on visa issues, Hungary has always taken the view that Ukraine should be granted EU visa exemption as soon as possible – and in any circumstances before Turkey. He also said that “Today and tomorrow in Brussels I see things moving in this direction”. Orbán summed up by saying that “This is so that we can protect Hungarian interests – and we will have to see what else will happen in addition to this”.

Meanwhile government office chief János Lázár told a press conference in Budapest that Viktor Orbán would be fighting for a quota system which is voluntary at the two-day summit starting on Thursday. Hungary’s government is clear on its position: “we do not want anyone to be relocated to Hungary,” Lázár said. If there will be a mandatory quota scheme after all, Hungary will be “in great need of gauging its citizens’ opinion through a referendum,” he added. János Lázár said there had been no migrants arriving since the Balkan border closure, hence “it is not an EU-Turkish pact but border protection that can stop migrants”.

According to the proposed agreement under discussion, Ankara is requesting: further financial aid from the European Union in order to provide for Syrian refugees on Turkish territory; the speeding up of EU accession talks; and, by the end of June, removal of the visa requirement for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU. In return, Turkey would take back migrants who arrive illegally in Greece after the agreement enters into force. At the same time, however, in exchange for each Syrian citizen taken back by Turkey, the EU would be required to take in one Syrian refugee directly from Turkey.

via hungarymatters.hu and kormany.hu