Weekly newsletter

Ruling And Opposition Parties Clash Over Immigration In Parliament

Tamás Székely 2015.02.21.

Hungary needs no economic migrants and should not become a target country for them, interior ministry state secretary Károly Kontrát said, calling for a national consensus on the issue. Addressing a debate on the subject initiated by the ruling parties, Kontrát said that Hungary cannot take more of the burden posed by economic migrants and new rules need to be drawn up to accelerate related procedures and make them more to the point. Kontrát noted a considerable increase in the number of illegal immigrants in recent years. He said that a part of them are not real refugees, considering that there is no war in their country and they are not subject to persecution.

Now still a transit country, Hungary could soon become a target country unless an efficient solution is found to handle the wave of refugees, he said. Citing data, he said that the police have detained 30,436 illegal entrants since the beginning of the year, 25,468 of whom arrived from Kosovo. In 2014, half of the asylum-seekers, more than 21,000 people, were Kosovars and 20%, more than 8,700 people, Afghan nationals, he added. He also noted arrivals from crisis zones as Syria and Somalia. He urged strict measures to be taken by the EU in immigration policy, arguing that current rules “are weak and invite abuse.”

The opposition Socialists (MSZP) accused the ruling Fidesz party of using the current wave of immigrants to incite xenophobia and raise fear and suspicion. “Fidesz is using the darkest and lowliest political propaganda and uninhibited manipulation confusing real figures with public fear based on semi-truths and obvious, crude lies”, deputy group leader Tamás Harangozó said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers of the opposition EGYÜTT (Together) and DK parties said they did not participate in the parliamentary debate about economic migrants. Refusing to assist in the government “farce”, Együtt did not address the debate, Szabolcs Szabó said. Immigrants and refugees are two separate groups but they are intentionally mixed up in government communication, which creates the impression that “these unfortunate people” are abusing Hungary and live off Hungarian tax-payers, he said.

Left-wing DK deputy leader Péter Niedermüller said that his party stayed away from the parliamentary debate because it did not want to assist “the shameful and disgraceful farce” surrounding illegal immigration. The debate serves no other purpose than “to divert attention from the corruption of government officials” and from the fact that the Hungarian prime minister has become totally isolated within the EU, Niedermüller told a press conference.

Addressing the parliamentary debate on economic migration, radical nationalist Jobbik lawmaker Dániel Kárpát said that the “so-called refugees” entering Hungary include plenty of criminals and the refugee shelters are full of “unidentifiable elements”. He stressed the need to re-establish the Border Guard, and no longer operate open or semi-open refugee shelters in towns and villages.

via hungarymatters.hu photo: Gergely Botár – kormany.hu