Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party said on October 18 it would only support the government’s constitutional amendment opposing the mass settlement of migrants if it also bans a disputed arrangement offering residency permits to foreigners buying a special state bond for €300,000.
As reported by The Associated Press (AP), Jobbik president Gabor Vona said his party wants “to protect Hungary from all kinds of settlements”.
“We are ready to vote for the amendment of the constitution but we are not ready for partial solutions,” Vona said after a meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “We can only support a solution which creates Hungary’s real security.”
Vona’s announcement could make it harder for Orban’s Fidesz party to secure the two-thirds majority needed in the legislature to approve the amendment and the government said it would consider the Jobbik request.
Plans to amend the constitution were announced by Orban after an October 2 referendum against any future European Union plans to relocate asylum seekers. The referendum was invalid due to low turnout but 98% of the valid votes supported the government position.
According to AP, the residency bond has drawn widespread criticism because of its lack of transparency and the government’s efforts to keep secret many details of the scheme introduced in 2013.
Data from the Hungary’s Office of Migration and Nationality and published by daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet suggests Hungary had sold bonds to 2,727 foreigners by the end of August. Since bond buyers can also apply for residency permits for their immediate families, a total of 7,559 people gained residence in Hungary under the scheme, including 6,405 from China and 497 from Russia.
“The bond programme not just enables immigrants to enter the Schengen zone of the European Union without any reliable background checks, but also allows for the allocation of significant sums of public money to intermediary companies whose proprietary structure is unclear,” Miklos Ligeti, legal director for Transparency International Hungary, told The Associated Press.