The Venice Commission is assessing a law on Hungary’s migration tax, a government official said on Thursday, because the country’s migration policy “is at odds with the majority of related policies in Europe”. Representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Justice Ministry met on Thursday with a delegation of the Venice Commission and the Council of Europe, in Hungary to assess the law on the special migration tax, state secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Balázs Orbán noted.
In line with the law in force since August 25, organisations involved in assisting illegal migration are expected to pay 25 percent special tax on any funding they receive, Orbán said. The Venice Commission is assessing this law despite the Hungarian government’s understanding that it is a taxation matter and there is no connection between basic rights and the special tax, he added.
Every state has the right to impose taxes on activities that result in costs to society but do not serve society’s common aims, he said. The migration wave has resulted in serious costs in Hungary which have been paid by Hungarian taxpayers, totalling nearly 1 billion euros, he added.
Orbán said the meeting with the Venice Commission delegation had confirmed a difference in opinion between the organisation and Hungary regarding the attitude to migration. Hungary has been “put in the corner” in international political and legal forums because its migration policy is different from the majority in Europe, he added.
“Hungary will stand by its position even if the majority of international institutions do not like this,” he said, insisting that the state has the right to impose taxes on activities that support migration, he said.
No matter what the Venice Commission’s final assessment is, the Hungarian government and parliament have the right to hold a different opinion, he said. The final assessment is expected to be approved at the Venice Commission meeting on December 14-15, he added.
featured photo by Council of Europe