‘It is harmful and unreasonable!’ — Hungary vows to defy Brussels on migrant quotas after European Council adopts controversial migration pact

After Brussels adopted the controversial EU migration pact, Hungarian Finance Minister Mihály Varga said voters should "think about whether they want to live in a country flooded by migrants or raise their voice against it" when heading to the polls for the European elections next month

FILE - Hungary's Finance Minister Mihály Varga, second right, arrives for a meeting of EU finance ministers at the European Council building in Brussels on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Hungary is on another collision course with Brussels after senior government officials vowed on Tuesday to defy the measures outlined in the EU’s controversial New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

Speaking to Hungarian journalists in the de facto EU capital, Hungarian Finance Minister Mihály Varga said the conservative administration in Budapest would not adhere to new rules relating to migrant quotas — a move likely to result in fresh financial penalties being imposed by Brussels.

“Hungary does not accept the imposition of migrant quotas,” Varga said.

“It is particularly harmful and unreasonable that, based on the provisions of the new EU asylum package, a penalty of €20,000 per migrant must be paid by those countries not willing to accept migrants to their territory according to the mandatory quota,” he added.

The finance minister in Viktor Orbán’s administration said it was the Hungarian view that the migrant crisis “should not be imported to Europe” and claimed the reforms amount to an “invitation sent to the migrants,” insisting that solutions should instead be found in the countries of origin to deter migrants from seeking to relocate.

He further accused the European Commission and majority left-wing European Parliament of being “unyielding” on the issue of mass migration; he also told the Hungarian people that change was needed in Brussels and that they had the opportunity to effect this in next month’s European Parliamentary elections.

“On June 9, every Hungarian citizen has the opportunity to express their position on the issue of migration with their vote. Everyone in the voting booth should think about whether they want to live in a country flooded by migrants or raise their voice against it,” he added.

The migration reforms were adopted by the European Council on Tuesday by way of qualified majority voting, with just Hungary and Poland opposing the pact in full.

Czechia chose to abstain on parts of the pact, while Austria and Slovakia voted against the crisis regulation that formed one of the measures included in the package. Ireland and Denmark did not vote on the legislation.

The new left-liberal government in Poland also reiterated its intention to refuse migrant quotas, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk telling journalists on Tuesday that Poland would “be a beneficiary of the migration pact.”

“We will not pay for anything, we will not have to accept any migrants from other countries. The EU will not impose any migrant quotas on us,” he said.

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