Enlargement

  • After Malta and Slovenia, Hungary is the third acceding country holding a EU referendum. (Photo: European Commission)

Hungary votes yes to EU

13.04.03 @ 11:02

  1. By Mihaela Gherghisan

A staggering 83.69% of Hungarians said yes to the EU entry during the binding accession referendum held Saturday 12 April. The turnout was however low, with less than half of the citizens (45.62%) voting, while the majority of the people stayed at home.

The capital, Budapest, had the higher turnout estimated at 54,2% while the other towns and villages had a turnout around 40%.

The question asked was "Do you agree that the Republic of Hungary should become a Member of the European Union?"

After Malta and Slovenia, Hungary is the third acceding country to hold a EU referendum.

All four parties in the Hungarian parliament backed joining the EU. Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy argued that the accession would be good for everybody. The centre-right Fidesz Party, led by former Prime Minister Victor Orban, warned that many could suffer initially, but that the EU would be good for Hungary in the long run.

"By coming out overwhelmingly in favour of EU membership today, the Hungarian voters have signalled their clear choice to build their future within a strong, united Europe," the European Commission said in a statement.

Hans-Gert Poettering, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament said it was a magnificent result. "This is the third successful referendum in the accession countries and we can now look forward with some optimism to positive results in the other referenda," he said.

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