Three-quarters of Hungarians oppose EU’s mandatory migrant relocation scheme

FILE - Migrants with life jackets provided by volunteers of the Ocean Viking, a migrant search and rescue ship run by NGOs SOS Mediterranee and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFCR), are rescued in a wooden boat Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, some 26 nautical miles south of the Italian Lampedusa island in the Mediterranean Sea. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

An overwhelming majority of Hungarians oppose the European Union’s Migration Pact, which contains a controversial plan to enforce mandatory migrant quotas on member states.

A recent poll conducted by the Nézőpont Institute revealed 77 percent of Hungarian respondents do not believe that Brussels should have the power to send asylum seekers to Hungary without the consent of the Hungarian government.

Just 17 percent of respondents backed the plan, and 6 percent had no view.

Critics believe the scheme rides roughshod over national sovereignty and transfers further powers reserved for national governments to Brussels.

Opposition to the plan transcends party politics in Hungary. While 93 percent of respondents who sympathize with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s current administration are against the move, 58 percent of traditionally left-wing voters also oppose it, with just 32 percent of opposition voters considering the plan to be acceptable.

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Hungary and Poland were the only two nations to vote against the scheme when EU interior ministers passed the new migration reform on June 8. An opposition coalition led by Italy collapsed on the evening of the vote after Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni received concessions from Brussels giving national governments greater power to return failed asylum seekers, at least in theory.

Both Budapest and Warsaw have vowed not to comply with the reform, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki insisting his government would rather pay the penalty of up to €22,000 for every migrant it refuses to take in.

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“This is unacceptable! They want to turn Hungary into an immigration country by force!” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote in a social media post the day after the vote.

“Poles will have the right to have a say,” added Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party. He vowed to hold a referendum on the compulsory relocation of migrants, a move he claimed is an assault on national sovereignty and is contrary to the EU treaties.

“We will not accept absurd ideas being imposed on us,” added Polish European Affairs Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek.

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