Thursday

9th Jul 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants

The European Commission says it may create a new system to monitor push backs by EU states. The announcement follows weeks of dithering by the commission, which has refrained from condemning abuse by Greek and Croat authorities, despite mounting evidence.

News in Brief

  1. France and Germany warn Israel on annexation 'consequences'
  2. Shipping firms to face EU carbon regime
  3. EU to mediate between Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey
  4. EU to unveil arms-trafficking and drug proposals
  5. EU to discuss people-smuggling with African states
  6. 'Torture chamber' found in Dutch sea containers
  7. Commissioner backs under-attack Hungarian news site
  8. New French government tilts to right

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Merkel urges EU unity to hold off economic fallout and populism
  2. The opportunistic peace
  3. EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants
  4. EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row
  5. Revealed: fossil-fuel lobbying behind EU hydrogen strategy
  6. Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video
  7. Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss
  8. Belarus: Inside Lukashenko’s crackdown on independent voices

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us