Defence Minister: Quota Referendum Timelier Than Ever Before

  • 20 Sep 2016 9:00 AM
Defence Minister: Quota Referendum Timelier Than Ever Before
Hungary’s Oct. 2 migrant quota referendum is now timelier than ever before, Hungary’s defence minister said. Simicskó reacted to remarks by European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas, who said at a European Commission press briefing earlier in the day that the EC had no plans to abandon the migrant relocation scheme.

Asked if EC President Jean-Claude Juncker’s comments from last week that “solidarity cannot be imposed” meant that the EU agreement to relocate migrants across the bloc was no longer binding, Schinas said: “No, not at all. You cannot conclude that.”

“The president stated the obvious: solidarity ... has to come from the heart. It’s not something that can be dictated by law or by directive, but this has nothing to do with the application of community law, which as you know is not optional.”

Simicskó told MTI that Brussels had made it clear on multiple occasions that it has no intention of withdrawing its migrant redistribution plan. He said that according to a European Parliament resolution passed last week, the plan is actually to speed up the implementation of the scheme.

The minister said the quota scheme had three “especially dangerous” elements from Hungary’s perspective. The first of these is the plan to resettle migrants across the bloc, under which Hungary would have to take in thousands of migrants.

The second is a proposal to fine member states that refuse to admit migrants. Lastly, the EU also plans to facilitate family reunifications, thereby increasing the number of migrants that would be settled on the continent.

Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.

MTI photo: Lendvai Péter

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