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03/12/2016

Hungary to hold referendum on refugee quotas on 2 October

Global Europe

Hungary to hold referendum on refugee quotas on 2 October

János Áder in Brussels [European Commission]

Hungary will hold a referendum on 2 October on EU plans to relocate migrants among member states, a scheme fiercely opposed by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the president said today (5 July).

“As president of the republic, I decree that the referendum will be held on 2 October,” President János Áder said in a statement.

Orbán announced the referendum last February. Hungary’s Supreme Court gave the green light for holding the referendum last May, and what remained to be determined was the exact date.

Hungary to hold referendum on quotas, Austria remains defiant

Hungary’s prime minister announced that a referendum will be held on EU plans for a system of mandatory quotas, while Austria remained unrepentant in the face of continued criticism from Greece.

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Hungary to hold EU refugee quota referendum by October

Hungary will hold a referendum in September or early October on whether to accept any future European Union quota system for resettling migrants, the prime minister’s office said yesterday (3 May).

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Orbán’s government voted against the European Union’s plan to relocate 160,000 migrants around the 28-nation bloc via mandatory quotas but the scheme was approved by a majority of member states in September.

Juncker defies EU countries with distribution plan for 160,000 refugees

The President of the European Commission used his State of the Union speech to call for member states to adopt an emergency refugee distribution system, ignoring that his similar plan of a lesser scale was rejected last May. EurActiv France reports

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Joining Slovakia in filing a legal challenge against the plan, Orbán said earlier this year that the government would put the issue to a referendum.

Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas

Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November).

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Voters will be asked: “Do you want the EU to prescribe the mandatory relocation of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of the Hungarian parliament?”

Budapest says that the plan – which has been extremely slow to get going – violates its national sovereignty and that “terrorists” might enter the country disguised as migrants.

National reluctance sinks EU's refugee relocation plan

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s flagship plan to stem Europe’s migration crisis by redistributing refugees around the bloc risks crumbling, as EU states balk at sharing the burden, according to several diplomats and officials.

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Orbán has said that Brussels has no right to “redraw Europe’s cultural and religious identity”.

Around 400,000 migrants and refugees passed through Hungary in 2015 before the government sealed off the southern borders with razor wire and fences in the autumn.

The authorities also brought in tough new laws punishing illegal entry and vandalism of the fences.

Hungary says this is not a refugee crisis, but mass exodus

The measures to address the migration crisis introduced by individual member states or groups of states have been more effective than the Commission’s action, a Hungarian high official said yesterday (13 June).

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