Friday

15th Dec 2017

Report: Hungary could push for treaty change on migration

  • A counter-campaign against the government's call for referendum vote reminds Hungarians that "there is a war in Syria". (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

Hungary's government might push for a treaty change to keep asylum rules in national competences if it wins a referendum on migration quotas on 2 October, Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag reported Wednesday (21 September).

The paper quoted senior government officials saying that if the majority reject the EU's migration quotas, prime minister Viktor Orban could use the momentum to change the Lisbon treaty.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

According to the paper, Hungary would propose exempting national migration rules from the common European policies.

Orban has been a key figure among leaders of eastern European countries which have been calling for reinforced national competencies.

The Hungarian prime minister said in July he had an "ambivalent relationship" with treaty change.

Speaking after the EU summit he told journalists that even though it was not time for treaty change, "when tempers calm down, we should ask ourselves: aren't there problems in this treaty that we should rethink?"

Hungary's government had already challenged the quota plan in the EU's top court, the European Court of Justice.

Voters support the government's position, polls have shown, the question is whether enough people bother to show up to surpass the 50 percent threshold to make the plebiscite valid.

While Hungary's referendum will not have direct legal consequences for the EU, the government said it wanted to use the extra mandate to close down discussions on the quota.

Nordic disputes

In the meantime, Nordic countries are calling on the EU to act, as Hungary has refused to take back asylum seekers from other EU and other European countries under the bloc's asylum rules, called Dublin regulation.

In a 9 September letter seen by AFP, ministers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden expressed their "great concern" at Budapest's refusal to abide by the Dublin rules under which refugees must seek asylum in the first EU country they enter.

The joint letter quotes from a statement sent by Budapest to fellow EU nations in May, which insisted that Hungary "cannot accept any incoming Dublin transfers". Hungary has argued that the migrants first entered the EU in Greece.

The ministers argue this is "a violation of the EU law and it is not acceptable" and called on EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to "act promptly".

While the EU Commission has launched probes into Hungary's asylum laws, but on the Nordic issue has been reluctant to act.

An EU Commission spokesperson confirmed that migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has received a letter.

"As for all correspondence, the Commission will reply in due course. Regarding the issue of Dublin transfers, the Commission is in contact with the Hungarian authorities," the spokesperson added.

No-go zones

The government's referendum has caused a diplomatic spat with the UK.

The British embassy in Budapest has complained to the Hungarian foreign ministry about the publication of a leaflet sent to millions of people that suggested parts of Britain and other countries had become "no-go areas" because of high numbers of migrants.

"This leaflet is clearly inaccurate. There are no areas in the UK in which the laws of the UK cannot be enforced," Britain's foreign office said in a statement according to AFP.

"There are no-go zones in Europe and we don't want no-go zones in Hungary," Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijjarto told BBC on Wednesday.

There a few migrants in Budapest, and the government has refused to accept the migrants it was assigned – just under 1,300 people – under last year's EU quota plan.

Hungary steps up campaign on migration referendum

Hungary's government has unveiled six billboards linking the migration crisis to terrorism and crime in an effort to win backing for its referendum on the EU's migration policy.

UN concerned by Hungary's migrant push-backs

UN refugee agency has voiced concerns over new Hungarian rules leading to push-backs of asylum seekers and urged authorities to investigate reports of violence.

EU funds for Bulgaria target border security

Reception and detention facilities in Bulgaria are in poor shape but most of the €108-million emergency aid package announced by the EU commission will go to border security and surveillance.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  2. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  3. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  4. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU
  5. British PM limps to EU capital after Brexit defeat
  6. US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'
  7. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  8. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  2. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  3. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  6. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  8. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  9. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  10. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  11. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  12. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives