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Spokesman: Hungarians Expect Government To Tackle Illegal Immigration

By Tamás Székely // 2015.07.28.

The vast majority of Hungarians who returned the government’s questionnaire on immigration said that tighter regulations are needed both on a national and a European level to stem the flow of illegal migrants into Hungary, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said. A negligible amount of respondents disagreed with the statements in the questionnaire, Kovács told a press conference.

The government spokesman said 70% of respondents considered the spread of terrorism a trend with an impact on their own lives, with 25% being uncertain and 3.6% saying they did not consider it important. About 39.3% of respondents thought there was a “serious” chance for a terrorist attack on Hungarian soil, while 56% said it was “possible”. A mere 3.7% said there was no chance for such an attack. Fully 61% of respondents said they saw a link between the growing threat of terrorism and “Brussels’ ill-controlled migration policy”, while 27.8% said they “mostly agreed” and 11.1% said they saw no such link.

About 97% of respondents said the rise of economic migration was a “real” issue, while 72.6% said they were “aware” of the problem, 23.4% said they had “heard” of it, and 3.9% had no knowledge of the issue. No less than 72.7% of respondents said they “fully agreed” that their jobs could be under threat from economic migrants, with 18.8% saying they “mostly agreed” and 8.5% saying they did not feel threatened. Fully 77.4% of respondents said Brussels’ policies on immigration had failed and that new regulations were needed, 17.5% said they “mostly agreed” with this position, while 5% disagreed. No less than 89.7% said they would support the government implementing stricter migration rules, 7.5% said they would partly support such measures, while 2.8% said they would not support stricter rules.

Zoltán Kovács said responses given to this question greatly influenced the government’s decision to implement a temporary border closure and order the construction of a fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia. Fully 87.9% of respondents agreed that illegal border crossers should be detained, while 9.3% partly agreed and 2.8% disagreed with such an approach. No less than 86.1% “fully agreed” that illegal border crossers should be turned back, 10.2% partly agreed and 3.6% of respondents disagreed. About 82.7% said economic migrants should contribute to the costs of their reception and placement, 13.5% partly agreed with this statement and 3.8% disagreed. Fully 60.6% of respondents said EU member states aiding countries from where migrants originate was an effective way of managing the crisis, while 15% disagreed with such steps. Twenty-four percent partly agreed with the approach.

The government spokesman said 92.9% of respondents said supporting Hungarian families and children was more important than supporting migrants. A further 5.3% of respondents partly agreed, while 1.7% disagreed with the statement. Kovács reiterated earlier statements by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that the border fence must be completed as soon as possible. A total of 1,000,254 people returned the questionnaire, and 58,000 Hungarians responded online, the spokesman said.

The government’s “national consultation” on migration was a “failure”, as barely more than ten percent of the population returned the questionnaire, the Socialist Party (MSZP) said in response. The Socialists said the consultation resulted in “extremists fired up by the government committing acts of physical and verbal aggression on a daily basis”. The party said the government’s duty would be to protect the Hungarian population while also guaranteeing the human rights of war-zone refugees.

If the government were interested in finding a solution as opposed to causing chaos, it would have used European Union funds to strengthen border control, the Socialists said. “The government has been spending tens of billions of forints on deceitful consultations, billboards aimed at inciting hatred and useless barbed wire” instead of opening camps where migrants could wait until the end of the asylum proceedings in “humane conditions”, the party added.

via hungarymatters.hu and kormany.hu photo: Tibor Illyés – MTI