Hungary moves to ban mass resettlement of migrants

2016-10-10 22:12
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (Georges Gobet, AFP)

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (Georges Gobet, AFP)

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Budapest - Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday proposed constitutional changes aimed at banning the mass resettlement of migrants, after voters backed his rejection of an EU refugee quota plan in a recent referendum.

"Foreign populations cannot be resettled in Hungary," Orban wrote in a package of proposed changes to the country's constitution, published on the parliament's website.

"Foreign nationals (not including EU nationals) can only live in Hungary on the basis of individually judged requests by the Hungarian authorities according to the legal provisions laid down by the parliament," the text read.

The other changes, due to be put to vote November 8, include the assertion that "the form and the structure of the state, the territory of the country and its people" belong to the "constitutional identity of the Hungarian nation," which cannot be amended or overwritten by any external law.

Around 3.3 million Hungarians voted on October 2 against a European Union scheme seeking to share migrants around the 28-member bloc via mandatory quotas without the consent of national parliaments.

The ballot was declared invalid because of low turnout, but 98% of those who voted rejected the EU proposal.

Orban hailed the outcome as "a sweeping victory" in his populist revolt against Brussels and vowed to change the constitution to "reflect the will of the people".

"This constitutional amendment rests on the will of the 98% majority, 3.3 million people, more people than the voter base of any party in the quarter-century since the change of system (from communism)," the text read.

The amendment should pass with the required two-thirds parliamentary majority as it is likely to have the support of the radical right-wing Jobbik party.

Orban's hardline populist stance has drawn strong criticism from the EU, which on Monday also slammed the surprise suspension of Hungary's main opposition newspaper on the weekend amid fears of a clampdown on press freedom.

Read more on:    eu  |  viktor orban  |  hungary  |  migrants

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