Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling conservative party, has slammed Hungarian left-wing MEPs for voting in favour of a motion to fine European Union member states that refuse to participate in the migrant quota scheme.
Members of the European Parliament representing the opposition left-wing Socialist (MSZP), Democratic Coalition (DK) and Együtt parties, as well as the green groups LMP and PM, supported the move to “punish” member states that refuse to accept the redistribution of migrants who are already in the EU, Lajos Kósa, leader of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, and his co-ruling Christian Democrat counterpart Péter Harrach said in a statement.
Lajos Kósa (L) and his Christian Democrat colleague Péter Harrach have accused left-wing party of representing Brussels interests instead of those of the Hungarian people (photo: minap.hu)
According to leaked drafts of the proposal, Brussels would levy a fine of 78 million forints (EUR 248 000) for every single migrant rejected, they said. “This outrageous proposal is yet another sign that Brussels is utterly insensitive to reality and has lost touch with voters,” the statement said, insisting that the proposal counters EU law and the basic treaty. “The Hungarian political Left has again chosen to represent the interests of Brussels rather than those of the Hungarian people,” it added. Fidesz called on Hungary’s left-wing parties to “quit attacking Hungary” in the EU and urged them not to “force the flawed immigration policies of Brussels onto the Hungarian people”.
In response, the opposition parties have accused Fidesz of deliberately misrepresenting decisions by the European Parliament in an effort to whip up sentiment against refugees and the Hungarian Left. István Ujhelyi, a MEP for the country’s largest left-wing party MSZP, accused Fidesz of using Brussels as a money spigot and eschewing the responsibility that EU membership entails. The migrant crisis is just “an excuse” for the government to drive Hungary out of the EU, Ujhelyi said. Fidesz is “making every effort” to mislead the public about the real state of the country “through government propaganda” served by a supine media, he insisted, adding that Fidesz rejects European values and even disregards views within the European People’s Party, the bloc to which it beongs. Tamás Meszerics, the sole MEP representing the green LMP group, said that the refugee crisis could be addressed through the quota system, however, “settlement of the issue should be kept a national competency”. He insisted that “solidarity and a joint, European commitment” was needed with clearly defined conditions. In its report, the EP has asked the European Commission to set up a system to evaluate members in terms of a shared responsibility. He insisted that the EP resolution does not stipulate mandatory settlement.
While Hungary’s fragmented left-wing opposition is divided on the issue, MSZP, DK and Együtt have called on their supporters to stay away from the popular referendum called by the government for 2 October, in which the electorate is expected to reject the EU’s mandatory migrant resettlement scheme by a landslide majority.