Hungary to hold anti-migrant referendum

After Prime Minister Viktor Orbán questioned the masculinity of Jobbik leader Gábor Vona in Parliament on Monday, and suggested that Jobbik should stop trying to impress the European Union by striking a more moderate tone as of late, both Fidesz and Jobbik voted in favour of holding a referendum on whether the decision-making bodies of the EU had the right to “force” Hungary into accepting quotas of migrants and refugees. Fidesz and Jobbik together provided 136 votes in favour, while 5 independent opposition MPs voted against the motion. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and the Politics Can Be Different green party (LMP) did not participate in the vote, out of protest. Hungary’s largely ceremonial president, János Áder, will now have 15 days to announce a date for the referendum, which will likely be sometime in September. Fidesz’s main challenge will be to ensure that over 50% of eligible voters actually cast ballots in the plebiscite, in order to render the vote valid and “binding.”

I decided to put the word “binding” in quotation marks, simply because this referendum and this question in specific is not binding in any way. The referendum is more about the political benefit of a lengthy, polemical campaign, and the ability to spend up to 4.9 billion forints on government-sponsored xenophobic advertising, in order to fire up the population again about “invading” and “dangerous” foreigners, than it is about enforcing a result that Fidesz knows is completely unenforceable. The referendum question to be posed to voters reads as follows: “Do you want the European Union to be able to prescribe the obligatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary, without the agreement of Parliament?”

Refugees arriving in Hungary, in 2015. Photo: MTI.

Refugees arriving in Hungary, in 2015. Photo: MTI.

A patriotic Hungarian may, indeed, vote with a resounding “no” when faced with such a question–after all, who would want to see an external force direct the “colonization” (the word “betelepítés” is equally sinister in Hungarian) of their country?

Of course, there is no talk whatsoever of colonization. There is, however, a decision by the Council of the EU, which allocated 120,000 refugees among the member states of the European Union. According to this allocation, Hungary must accept 1,294 refugees. The referendum approved by parliament on Tuesday will have absolutely no impact on whether or not Hungary actually takes in the 1,294 refugees that it has been allocated. Even the Orbán government’s Minister of Justice, László Trócsányi, conceded that the question refers to future (and imaginary) attempts by the EU to “colonize” Hungary with non-Hungarians.

Hungary is legally bound to accept 1,294 refugees regardless of the result of the referendum. If the Orbán government chooses not to, it may have to pay a fine of up to 250,000 euros after each refugee that it decides to reject, according to a decision by the European Commission. The Orbán government claims that this is tantamount to blackmail.

Jobbik was the party to initially propose this referendum. But when it realized that Fidesz would use a lengthy, hyperbolic referendum campaign to distract voters from growing corruption scandals and the dismal state of health care and education, the party suggested that instead of a plebiscite, the constitution be amended to include a clause prohibiting the “mandatory settlement” of non-Hungarians in Hungary. Jobbik leader Gábor Vona argued that this was the quickest and most certain way of resolving this issue, as the government runs the risk of a invalid and non-binding referendum, if turn-out is less than 50%.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán offered a snarky response to Mr. Vona in parliament.

“Your party has gone from being radical to moderate. You have gone from being men to cute mama’s boys,” declared Mr. Orbán, referring to Jobbik’s recent efforts at being perceived as more moderate.

Gábor Vona, naturally, responded in kind.

“It wasn’t me who once sat in the Liberal International, but rather you!”–retorted Mr. Vona, and then suggested that Mr. Orbán wanted to maintain the crisis caused by the refugees and EU quotas, rather than provide a solution, in order to distract the population from corruption scandals.

Mr. Orbán then suggested that Jobbik was simply trying to impress Brussels, which–in the Fidesz dictionary–is now synonymous with Beelzebub.

“Just stay Hungarian–that suits you better,” Prime Minister Orbán suggested to Mr. Vona in Parliament.

Fidesz has become Hungary’s most far-right party and it will now spend the spring and summer firing up the population with a xenophobic referendum campaign against foreigners. What a miserable “welcome” for the 1,294 refugees that will likely settle in Hungary in the coming months.


  1. Why is it the responsibility of any European country to give these “refugees”(most are economic refugees) a better life? Europe has nothing to gain by letting or bringing these people in. Europe, your first and last obligation is to your people. What do the “refugees” have to offer? They bring nothing to the table. Europeans first in Europe, not last.

    Why don’t muslim “asylum seekers” go to Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates , Oman, Saudi Arabia or any of the other rich muslim countries? These are Islamic countries therefore more suitable for them.

    Has there ever been a European country that benefited by opening it’s borders to non-Europeans? If so, name it. Do they make Europe a safer place to live? Have they made Europe great? Are they good for tourism? Do they bring anything positive to Europe? Do they respect the citizens of Europe and the customs? Do they support themselves without burdening the tax payers? Do they burden the judicial system due to high crime rates? Do they love Europe or what they can get from her?

    Do they victimize the European people in large proportions to their small numbers? Wouldn’t crimes against the European people foreshadow their true intentions? Do they trash up the areas they inhabit in Europe? If they victimize the host country’s people and trash up their land after they have been given a new start at life, wouldn’t that be like a direct “screw you”? Do they demand you to change your ways and customs so they can tolerate you? Do they respect the peoples government? Your family? Your people? Your culture?

    If they are guilty of three of these questions then It would be safe to say they should not be in Europe. There is more harm than good for Europe and her people.

    If a country don’t let the non Europeans flood their land they are called “far right” “racist” “Nazis” and “xenophobic”. If they let them in, their country, their culture, their lives, their descendants lives will be torn apart. Which one is easier to live with? Which one does the most damage? Which choice is beneficial to the country and it’s people? Hint: Name calling will not destroy a country and it’s people. Europe, wake up and take a stand before it’s too late and you lose everything.

  2. Avatar Robert Szucs says:

    I agree with Angus in every sentence!!!
    What it is with Christopher Adam what makes him so blind?
    Ultra Liberalism can be that stupid? Obviously.
    Living in the safety of Canada who cares what going to happen with Europa, Hungary, Poland etc. —- right Adam?
    You make me sick!!!!

  3. Avatar Liz Aucoin says:

    Robert, only the IGNORANT, make decisions based out of fear! Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean that everyone should base their opinion upon the same fears you have. If you truly cared, you would know that refugees create business.

  4. Avatar dale cooper says:

    Hungary should not turn into an ethnic s**thole like London or Paris, stay true to your statehood and repel that nasty sow Merkel.

  5. Avatar Robert Szucs says:

    I think Liz you are the ignorant one!!!
    Tell your fear and understanding theory to all the raped woman, to all the murdered people throughout Europe.
    Why they have to suffer? So you feel good about yourself how human, how open hearted you are? TYPICAL LIBERAL!!!

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