Orbán wants Lisbon Treaty change to control migration

FILIP SINGER

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban gives his closing press conference at the end of the EU's informal summit of the 27 heads of state or governments, in Bratislava, Slovakia, 16 September 2016. European Union leaders met to discuss a new strategy and future of the European Union after the recent Brexit referendum in Britain.

Member state law should have precedence over community law when it comes to migration


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Viktor Orbán  wants the amendment of the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union if the upcoming Hungarian referendum is valid. Orbán  wants a treaty amendment that bolsters national sovereignty vis-à-vis the European Commission and prioritizes immigration policy over community law.

The Nepszabadsag reports that if enough Hungarians go to the polls, Orbán  will use the occasion to argue the EU is dysfunctional. The article cites government sources. It follows a statement made last week in an interview in which Orbán  said he has “an idea for the next step” should he win the referendum.

Referendum

Hungary goes to the polls on October 2, in a referendum that pits nation against Brussels. The framing of the question Hungarians face is the following:

“Do you want the European Union to be able to mandate the obligatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary even without the approval of the National Assembly?”

The only answer is “Yes” or “No.”

Polls leave little doubt the answer will be “No.”

An open question is how many Hungarians will show up to vote. Too low a turnout could be embarrassing for the government. If less than 50% of Hungarians show up, Orbán  will suffer a humiliation.

Framing of the question

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán frames the issue at hand as a “cultural struggle.” He made clear that the European Commission’s plan to redistribute asylum settlers – taking into account member state population, GDP, and unemployment rates – is little more than an attempt to “redraw Hungary’s and Europe’s ethnic, cultural and religious identity.”

The ruling Fidesz hopes Brexit will legitimize Orbán ’s proposal and hope for Visegrad Four support (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland). However, it is unlikely these states will accept the implications of such a proposal for their citizens. And the endorsement of this proposal by Britain at this point would be irrelevant.

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