Orban calls for fight to change European migration rules
Hungary needs to prepare for a "tough fight" with the institutions of the European Union to change the EU's mechanism to distribute migrants among member states, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the traditional, annual Civic Picnic in Kotcse, in southwestern Hungary, Orban said that rules making it easier for migrants to reunite with their families in Europe should also be changed.
Orban suggested that support for changing those rules is not sufficient, and said that his government would need to "wage a desperate fight to change the rules" after Hungary's October 2 migrant quota referendum. "I could not say that we will certainly succeed", Orban said.
Concerning the referendum, the prime minister said that it was not "party politics but a cause concerning Hungary's future". He insisted that "those that stay away will transfer the right of decision to others and will have to accept the resulting position".
Orban said that participants in the Kotcse forum would discuss the general situation of Europe and issues that had "led to the Hungarian referendum". He referred to those issues as the consequences of a "general weakening of civilisation".
"I will argue for the European Union, that Hungary belongs to the European community and as such to the European Union, and that is a good thing," the prime minister said. "But the EU must be changed so that people feel comfortable in it," he added.
According to the opposition Socialists, the prime minister has "admitted" that the upcoming referendum will not have any legal consequences.
The Socialists have translated Orban's remarks as a request to voters "for their authorisation so that the government could represent them in Europe". That authorisation, the party said in a statement, had been granted when ruling Fidesz won power in 2014.
The referendum is "about Orban and his Fidesz party", an initiative costing "billions" and aimed at "covering up issues around education, health care, corruption and low incomes", the Socialists said.