Hungarian minister: Schinas wants to ‘hide’ migration from German, French voters

(R-L) Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga and EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas [EPA-EFE/JOHN THYS/STEPHANIE LECOCQ/JOSE COELHO]

Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga has lashed out against European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas after he told EURACTIV in an interview that the much-awaited European migration pact should be approved after the French elections due next year.

Varga took to social media on Tuesday (21 September) to accuse Schinas of attempting to hide migration from voters in Germany and France ahead of their respective elections – Germany on 26 September and France next April.

Schinas told EURACTIV in an interview that he was “optimistic that immediately after the French elections we will enter into a very rapid process of convergence and final agreement” on the European Migration Pact.

Criticising both sides of the political spectrum, Schinas added: “The clearest opponents of the Commission’s proposal for a new agreement on migration are not only the Europhobic far-right but also the Europhobic left. The two ends of the political spectrum in the EU want to use migration to say that Europe cannot solve people’s problems”.

His comments irritated Varga, who is known for her anti-migration rhetoric.

“Commissioner Schinas would deprive Europeans of their democratic rights only to implement the migration pact!” Varga wrote on her Facebook page.

According to Varga, Schinas’s words meant that the EU deliberately wants to wait until after the elections in Germany and France “before concluding a new European migration pact” that has been stuck for a year in discussions among EU ministers.

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In Varga’s view, this means that “it would be a big problem if German and French people could decide on migration issues through the elections. It is better to hide what kind of pact they want since it is impossible to win an election with such a topic!”

“The pre-planned and willful misleading of voters seems to have become a European value in the EU institutions,” she added.

Portugal, which was at the helm of the EU Council in the first half of the year, managed to clinch a last-minute deal on the new European asylum agency at the end of June, but the hugely controversial migration pact negotiations have seen little movement since.

Luxembourgish Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told EURACTIV earlier this week that the migration talks are stuck and that they “clearly” not going anywhere in the near future.

Hungary is one of the fierce opponents of the Commission’s plan and would instead like to see migration issues remain a national competence, resolved at the level of each EU country.

Budapest has been at loggerheads with Brussels over migration and rule of law for more than half a decade.

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[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]  

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