Friday

19th Oct 2018

Orban would ban mass resettlement in constitution

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban is to propose constitutional amendments banning the mass resettlement of migrants by the EU without parliament's approval.

"In Hungary 3.3 million voters decided they will not let others decide for them on resettlement of migrants," he told journalists on Tuesday (4 October), after a referendum on Sunday saw 98 percent of voters who cast a valid ballot rejecting EU competence over migration quotas.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The referendum was however invalid according to Hungary's national election committee, as it failed to bring out more than half of Hungary's 8 million eligible voters.

Orban has nevertheless vowed to make constitutional changes, saying the referendum result "cannot remain without consequences in politics, if there is still democracy in Hungary".

The proposed amendments would state that without the parliament's consent no EU legislation can order the resettlement of migrants in Hungary.

They would also ban mass resettlement into Hungary, because as Orban argued, "it is a question of sovereignty, and no decision in Brussels can question Hungary's inalienable right to decide on its territorial integrity and population".

The prime minister said the government would amend the basic law, that came into force in 2011.

One of the amendments would state that resettlement could only happen after Hungarian authorities examined an individual request claim, or if Hungary's parliament passes a law allowing resettlement.

Hungary's government will review the proposed amendments on Wednesday, which would require a two-thirds majority in parliament.

The ruling Fidesz no longer has a two-thirds majority but Orban can count on the support of the far-right Jobbik, which has earlier submitted similar proposals for constitutional change.

The opposition socialists said it was "not legitimate" to amend the constitution based on an invalid referendum.

EU supremacy?

Orban also added that "he cannot imagine" that Brussels would make a decision that goes against the will of Hungarian voters.

Since Sunday's referendum Orban has dismissed the issue of validity, and has been instead focusing on the high proportion of votes going his way.

"Brussels cannot make rules that override the national legislation," Orban was quoted by the Hungarian news wire.

EU law however is superior to national law - if there is conflict, then European law prevails.

EU officials quizzed on the issue said they would have to look at the language Orban uses in the legal text to check if the amendments could go against EU law.

However, Orban might use as a legal basis the part of the EU treaty that says the union "shall respect their essential State functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of the State, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security".

If all goes according to Orban's plan, MPs could vote on the proposed constitutional amendments on 8 November and they could come into force mid-November.

Defiant Orban to carry on fight with Brussels

Hungary's prime minister is moving ahead with a contitutional change despite the invalid referendum on EU migration quotas. He expects a tough fight with Brussels.

Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

EU leaders at the summit in Brussels want partnerships with north African states that go beyond migration. But internal EU reforms on asylum, especially sharing of migrants and refugees between member states, remain stuck.

News in Brief

  1. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  2. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed
  3. Greek foreign minister resigns over Macedonia deal
  4. No Brexit backstop means no approval, says EU parliament
  5. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  6. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  7. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  8. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  2. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  3. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  4. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  5. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  6. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned
  7. MEPs demand more from EU on human rights in Asia
  8. EU migration solutions are on the table - let's adopt them

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us