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Hungary’s Anti-Quota Referendum Gets Green Light As Court Rejects Appeals

Tamás Székely 2016.06.22.

Hungary’s Constitutional Court rejected on Tuesday four appeals against plans to hold the referendum on EU mandatory migrant quota system. Based on the statutory time limits, the referendum is now expected to be held in September or October this year.

The anti-quota referendum initiated by the right-wing Fidesz-KDNP government was contested by left-wing politicians, including socialist MEP Tibor Szanyi and Gábor Fodor, head of the Liberal Party. However, “the obstacles have now been removed”, Bence Tuzson, state secretary for government communications, told a press conference. According to the legal timetable, the referendum is most likely to be held in September or October. The government asks Hungarians to say no to EU quotas, he added.

Tuzson said Hungarian people must decide on an issue of sovereignty and a national affair which may alter Hungary in an economic, cultural and ethnic sense for centuries, or perhaps forever.” „Europe cannot be turned upside down. In Europe decisions are made primarily by the nations, and Brussels, the European Commission is there to implement the decisions of these nations, not the other way round”, he insisted. Tuzson also pointed out that the plans relating to the distribution of migrants are an “invitation to those who are about to set out for Europe.”

Meanwhile the radical nationalist Jobbik party said the referendum was purely aimed at political gains for ruling Fidesz. Jobbik lawmaker Ádám Mirkóczki said that the ruling parties were working to “promote migration for campaign purposes” rather than to stem the process. Mirkóczki said that though his party had supported the referendum, Jobbik thought that thwarting the quota system through a constitutional amendment would have been more effective because “it does not cost any money and its outcome is more certain”.

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