Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

Hungarian MPs sink Orban's anti-migrant plan

  • Not enough votes for Orban in the Hungarian parliament (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban suffered a blow on Tuesday after he failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority in parliament to pass constitutional amendments aimed at keeping migrants out of the country.

Far-right Jobbik, the Socialist Party and the green LMP did not vote, while three independent MPs voted no, stripping Orban of the necessary majority.

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.

  • Far-right Jobbik leader Gabor Vona refused to give its support to Orban (Photo: Jobbik website)

In the 199-seat parliament all members of Orban's ruling coalition, 131 MPs voted in favour of the seventh amendments to the constitution that was passed in 2011.

Orban needed just two more votes to succeed.

It is rare for the bellicose prime minister, whose party enjoyed a two-thirds majority between 2010 and 2015, to not get his way.

He submitted the amendments that aim to keep migrants out of Hungary despite the 2 October referendum on the issue being invalid because of low turnout.

However, in the plebiscite more than 3 million voters rejected EU migrant quotas -- more than 98 percent of the valid ballots.

Orban attempted to use that figure to push through legislation reinforcing the Hungarian parliament's rights to oppose any future plan by the EU to resettle asylum seekers among members of the bloc.

The proposed changes would have banned any migrant settlement without the approval of the national assembly and authorities.

Orban argued the amendment was needed to honour the referendum's result.

Jobbik's tactical move

But far-right Jobbik, which in principle agreed with the constitutional amendments and keeping out migrants, spotted an opportunity to put pressure on Orban.

They made their support conditional on the government scrapping a scheme that gives access to Hungary and the EU to wealthy investors, particularly from Russia, China and the Middle East.

The far-right party has been critical of the government’s shady residency bond programme, which gives Hungarian residency to applicants and their families for an initial refundable investment of €300,000 and a non-refundable €60,000 fee.

“Neither poor nor rich migrants should be allowed to settle in Hungary,” Jobbik leader Gabor Vona argued, saying the programme means national security risk.

Orban first considered Jobbik's offer, but then he said he would not give in to "blackmail".

Jobbik MPs held up a large sign in parliament on Tuesday, saying: “The traitor is the one who allows in terrorists for money!”

Defeat for Orban

"This is a considerable defeat for Fidesz, it is now the second occasion after the invalid referendum that things did not play out as Orban had planned," Csaba Toth of Budapest-based Republikon Institute told this website.

"It is a self-inflicted defeat for Fidesz that refused to compromise, making it clear that trying to gain political advantage on the long run over Jobbik is more important for them that pushing through the amendments," Toth said.

Toth said Fidesz will try to portray Jobbik as the traitors, but that it would be difficult to convince even the critics of nationalist Jobbik of that.

In the meantime Jobbik is arguing that for Orban's ruling Fidesz corruption is more important than national interest.

Tuesday's vote is another episode in the emerging power struggle between Orban's ruling Fidesz and Jobbik ahead of the 2018 elections.

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.

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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. EU bank delays gas pipeline decision
  2. Hungary's leftwing parties join Jobbik in anti-Orban protest
  3. Barnier: EU will not accept UK backtracking on Brexit deal
  4. Puigdemont to return to Catalonia if elected
  5. Commission approves EasyJet partial takeover of Air Berlin
  6. EU medical command centre due next year
  7. Auditors: EU 'green' farm payments fail ecology criteria
  8. Austria gas explosion creates Italian energy 'emergency'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Last chance for Poland to return property to its rightful owners
  2. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  3. Volkswagen tells EU: we will fail on our recall promise
  4. EU will not start Brexit future talks before March
  5. Bitcoin risky but 'limited phenomenon', says EU
  6. Panama Papers - start of sensible revolution in EU tax affairs?
  7. Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees
  8. New Polish PM brings same old government