Blog

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EUObserver wins ‘fake news’ award for reporting Hungary backing Catalan independence movement

Sep 19, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Earlier this week, I took a question from a journalist about the referendum on the independence of Catalonia. The government of Hungary has not taken a position on that, and I gave a general answer emphasizing precisely that point – that it is a matter of the internal politics of Spain, adding that the will of the people should be respected within the bounds of the rules.

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These Western leaders are beginning to sound like PM Orbán on migration

Sep 05, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Recently, following his meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau ‘sounded the alarm’ on the growing number of immigrants entering Canada. Although “Canada is an opening and welcoming society,” Prime Minister Trudeau said, “we are also a country of laws” and “there are rigorous immigration and customs rules that will be followed. Make no mistake”.

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St. Stephen’s Day in Hungary: What makes it special and what to look for this year

Aug 20, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

King St. Stephen, or Szent István Király, was the beloved first monarch of Hungary who lived during the turn of the first millenium. He was canonized August 20, 1083, by Pope Gregory VII for bringing Christianity to Hungary and later deemed the patron saint of Hungary. In 1771, Queen Maria Theresa declared the day a national state and church holiday. The celebration has been observed annually on the saint’s feast day ever since and commemorates the foundation of the Hungarian state.

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Growth in tourism in Hungary tops leading regional competitors, Austria and the Czech Republic

Aug 11, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Hungary welcomes more than 35 million tourists annually – 21 million from abroad – and the number is growing rapidly. The year 2016 was another record breaker with foreign tourists adding an estimated eight percent of revenue to the federal budget. The summer’s international sporting events, FINA and Formula 1, 2017 are expected to boost the numbers even higher.

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PM Netanyahu to PM Orbán: ‘Thank you for standing up for Israel’ at the forefront of opposition to this new anti-Semitism

Jul 18, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

During a historic visit – the first of a head of government of Israel in 30 years – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for “standing up for Israel in international forums,” and the Hungarian prime minister delivered a sharp rebuke of the failure of Hungary to defend its Jewish citizens during World War II, saying the country had sinned.

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FINA World Aquatics Championships begin with grandiose show on the Danube

Jul 17, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Hungary’s biggest ever sports event, the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships commenced last Friday with a breathtaking opening ceremony. The 3 thousand square meter floating stage near the Pest side of the famous Chain Bridge welcomed world-class musicians, artists and dancers who took the audience on a cultural-historical journey into Hungary’s deep connection to the Danube, water and aquatic sports.

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Soros ‘undermines democratically elected governments’ and criticizing his agenda has nothing to do with anti-Semitism

Jul 12, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

The heritage of a particular American billionaire speculator is not relevant to his agenda. Criticizing the radical policies he’s pushing all over the world – completely lacking any democratic mandate or accountability – is not anti-Semitism. Suggesting otherwise amounts to a cheap tactic to silence his critics and support the far-from-mainstream Soros agenda.

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FINA Aquatics Championships taking over Hungarian cities this week

Jul 12, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Thousands of athletes, a record-breaking fast-track preparation for the international event, and the most picturesque diving background ever. The 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships, Hungary’s largest sporting event to date, will overtake the cities of Budapest and Balatonfüred for over two weeks. As a nation with exceptional watersports traditions and accomplishments, Hungarians can barely wait, although it is not just our athletes who are setting the bar high.

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NATO is shifting gears and Hungary has a plan to stay apace

May 31, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Late last week, leaders of the 28 members of NATO gathered in Brussels to send, in the words of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a strong message of the unity of the transatlantic alliance and its commitment to collective security. NATO finds itself in an increasingly challenging environment due to the rise of complex security threats that require responsive capabilities. Grappling with terrorism, migration, cybercrime and more, every one of the member states must step up its game.

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Myths and Facts about Hungary and George Soros (Part 1)

May 30, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Browse the international media coverage of Hungary over the last several weeks and a handful of keywords stand out: migration crisis, NGOs, transparency, media, Central European University and George Soros. While much of the coverage lacks balance, the keywords themselves can be instructive, shedding light on a far-reaching, ideologically driven and wholly undemocratic network that pushes George Soros’s “open society” agenda.

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Hungary Helps: 2 million USD to re-build community in Iraq

May 29, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

The Hungarian government has been a strong advocate for allocating resources to aid and reconstruction efforts in communities impacted by war, rather than importing the problems to Europe. In its global initiative to bring help where it is most needed, the government of Hungary aims to do more than its fair share and has recently allocated 2 million USD toward the reconstruction of a Christian community near Mosul.

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Here’s the scary part of the Article 7 nuclear option pursued by European Parliament leftists against the Hungarian government

May 22, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Once again, Hungarian left-wing politicians have taken domestic affairs to the stage of the European Parliament, hoping to gain traction in their political campaign against the Hungarian government. Their timely intervention intersects neatly with the interests of an American billionaire whose extreme ideas about an open society aim to undermine Europe’s external border.

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Frans Timmermans must respect the dignity of Holocaust victims

May 10, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Political debates can get nasty. A certain amount of give-and-take comes with the territory, and as a spokesperson, I’ve experienced it firsthand. There are red lines that should not be crossed, though, and assailing the dignity of the victims of mass genocide crosses the brightest of them. Every reasonable person, including European Commission Vice President Timmermans, should know that no matter how deep the political disagreement, Holocaust victims should not be exploited as weapons in such a fight.

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GDP growth and fiscal discipline mean more tax cuts in Hungary’s 2018 Budget

May 09, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

Back in 2015, the government decided to put the following year’s budget up to vote in the spring session of the Parliament, an important decision to increase predictability and improve planning. This year is no different. Though 2018 will be an election year, the government has held to a tight fiscal policy in the new budget. Continued stability and growth make possible a boost in competitiveness and tax cuts for families.

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Hungary says, families first!

May 08, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

A nation’s strength lies in its people. Declining demographic trends throughout Europe pose a worrisome problem, including in Hungary. The trend has been declining into a vicious circle for decades and governments have struggled to break it. Recent demographic statistics in Hungary, however, show that with some ingenuity – like housing incentives and other breaks for families with children – a carefully selected mix of family policies can make a difference.

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Myth: If they want EU funds, Eastern European members must tow the line on Brussels' migration dictates

Apr 25, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

In today’s information-saturated world, we encounter a number of arguments and story lines that become popular and oft-repeated despite having almost no basis in fact. They sound compelling and have many people who would very much like to believe them, but they’re not true. The longer they linger, however, the more they get in the way. These myths deserve to be busted.

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Conservatives should take on “fight with the Left” to save Europe, says PM Orbán

Mar 30, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

In the face of a political adversary that wants to transform Europe by allowing unbridled immigration, casting aside subsidiarity and encumbering the labor markets with bureaucratic rules, the center-right political forces of Europe must summon the confidence to “accept the intellectual and political fight with the Left,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, addressing the European People’s Party Congress in Malta today.

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Commemorating the life of the “happiest prisoner of the GULAG,” a great witness to the 20th Century

Jan 18, 2017 - Zoltán Kovács

If we have any hope to understand the present day and have some sense of where we’re headed, we have to know where we’ve been. If we’re to understand where we’ve been, we have to listen to history’s witnesses. Father Oloffson Placid, Benedictine monk, teacher, GULAG survivor, passed away at age 101 on January 15, 2017. The testimony of his life, however, will remain a cornerstone for our understanding of the turbulent 20th century and an invaluable touchstone for us for the future.

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Frontex prepares for everything but border protection

Nov 21, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

“These people aren’t involved in border protection,” said Prime Minister Orbán of the newly established Frontex unit proposed to the management board. Frontex, of course, is the EU agency that was set up to manage cooperation among national border guards and help secure the EU’s external border. The problem with the proposed, new unit is that it is for anything but guarding European borders and coastlines. Plus, it is ridiculously weak in numbers.

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The amendment gives voice to the people’s will

Oct 19, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

“In 2015, a migratory wave of unforeseen proportions reached the borders of Europe,” according to the text presenting the proposed amendments to the Fundamental Law of Hungary. “One and a half million people crossed Schengen borders illegally. The cultural and economic integration of the masses of newcomers has made Europe face an unsolvable task, and uncontrolled border-crossings have significantly increased the danger of terror.

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No, the Hungarian refugees of 1956 are not the same as today’s migrants

Oct 11, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

It was a Tuesday, that October 23rd in 1956. The whole thing began as a peaceful, student demonstration, young people with a manifesto asserting the right to be independent from all foreign powers and that all Hungarians should enjoy the rights of free people in a democratic system. The crowds grew as the demonstrations moved throughout the city. By nightfall, State Security Police had fired on a crowd of unarmed demonstrators outside the state radio building, killing many.

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With another credit rating upgrade for Hungary no more talk of “unorthodoxy”

Sep 26, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

In Thursday’s print edition of the Financial Times, following Standard and Poor’s decision to restore Hungary’s credit rating to investment grade, a commentator praises Prime Minister Orbán’s “economic miracle.” Once a staunch critic of Hungary’s “unorthodox” measures to restore its technically bankrupt economy, the British daily’s admiration is the first sign that S&P’s move closes an era of doubts over whether Hungarian reforms are working.

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With unemployment at record lows, Hungary’s economy on Europe’s leader board

Sep 01, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Prime Minister Orbán’s economic program sets out a number of ambitious goals. It demands fiscal discipline to keep the budget deficit not only under the three-percent Maastricht threshold but low enough to reduce nominal state debt. It calls for GDP growth to increase from the current level between 2 and 3 percent to a more robust output above 3 percent and sets a longer term goal of five percent. And it aims to create jobs to bring the labor market to full employment.

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Premier Orbán in Bad-Tuschnad-Rede: „Ungarn bleibt ein Ort der Sicherheit in einer unsicheren Welt“

Jul 23, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Die alljährlich stattfindende Grundsatzrede von Ministerpräsident Viktor Orbán an der Sommeruniversität von Bad Götzenburg (Bálványos) mit Studentenlager im siebenbürgischen Bad Tuschnad (Tusnádfürdő) hat sich über die Jahre zu einem wichtigen Ereignis entwickelt, das weltweit für Schlagzeilen sorgt und manchmal sogar zu Kontroversen rund um die herausfordernden Ideen des Premiers führte.

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Das ungarische Referendum dient der Wiederherstellung einer starken Europäischen Union

Jul 12, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Der Termin steht fest: Am 2. Oktober 2016 wird in Ungarn eine Volksabstimmung über das verpflichtende EU-Quotensystem zur Ansiedlung von Migranten stattfinden. Dass das Datum nur einige Tage nach dem Brexit bekanntgegeben wurde, hat zu Mutmaßungen geführt, das ungarische Referendum handle ebenfalls vom Austritt aus der EU. Natürlich war das aus dem Munde mancher Kritiker eine absichtliche Verwechslung aus politischen Gründen.

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PM Orbán: Hungary brings order to a disorderly Europe

Jun 30, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Speaking to graduating class of police and border patrol officers last weekend, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had a simple message. It emphasized the outstanding achievement of Hungary’s uniformed services and how they have shown Europe that, if a country so wishes, it can uphold both the Dublin Protocol and the Schengen Treaty. And if everyone does their duty, Europe’s borders can be protected and mass migration can be controlled.

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New budget: Hungary scores another fiscal goal in the European cup of financial stability

Jun 23, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

While Hungary’s national football team continues to surprise at the UEFA European Championship, Hungary surprises in another European competition. For the second year in a row, the country accepted next year’s budget during the spring parliamentary session to build on Hungary’s favorable economic prospects in today’s Europe. Next year’s budget is Hungary’s secret formula to advance on its debt-slashing, GDP growth path.

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Hungary is proud to stand with the UK as a member of the European Union

Jun 20, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

“The decision is yours, but I would like you to know that Hungary is proud to stand with you as a member of the European Union.” Signed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, this is the text of a full-page advertisement that appeared in the British print media today. This is Hungary’s prime minister taking a stand, like many other European leaders, on an issue that’s important to Europe and important to Hungary.

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Ungarn ist stolz, gemeinsam mit dem Vereinigten Königreich Mitglied der Europäischen Union zu sein

Jun 20, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

„Es ist Ihre Entscheidung, doch ich möchte, dass Sie wissen, dass Ungarn stolz darauf ist, mit Ihnen gemeinsam in der Europäischen Union zu sein.“ Das ist der von Viktor Orbán unterzeichnete Text einer ganzseitigen Annonce, die heute in den britischen Printmedien erschienen ist. Ungarns Premierminister setzt sich, wie viele andere europäische Staats- und Regierungschefs, für eine Sache ein, die für Europa und Ungarn gleichermaßen wichtig ist.

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Fußball-EM 2016: Der ungarische Fußball lebt wieder!

Jun 15, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Was für eine Nacht! Nach 95 Minuten als dominierende Mannschaft, nach zwei wunderschönen, wohlverdienten Toren (und vielen schön gehaltenen Bällen) besiegte die ungarische Fußball-Nationalelf die favorisierten Österreicher 2 zu 0. Durch den Sieg der Außenseiter steht Ungarn nach dem 1:1 Unentschieden zwischen Island und Portugal an der Spitze der Gruppentabelle. Ein jahrzehntelanger Fluch wurde gebrochen.

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Ministerpräsident Orbán: Europa braucht ein stabiles Ägypten

Jun 03, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Nach seinem Treffen mit dem „sunnitischen Papst“ sprach der ungarische Ministerpräsident Viktor Orbán diese Woche in seinem regelmäßigen Radio-Interview über Europas katastrophale Interventionen in der islamischen Welt sowie über die Notwendigkeit eines stabilen Ägyptens und der erneuten Stabilisierung Libyens. Er sprach auch vom Brexit-Referendum und den Gefahren des wachsenden demokratischen Defizits in der derzeitigen Europäischen Union.

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Here’s why this major credit rating agency is bullish on Hungary and why the others should be too

Jun 01, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

In recognition of Hungary’s successful efforts to revive its economy, Fitch Ratings upgraded the country to investment grade recently. Although the upgrade came earlier than statistics might suggest, it was no surprise as markets had already priced Hungary’s widely anticipated return to investment grade at multiple credit rating agencies this year. Fitch’s upgrade signals important recognition that Hungary’s reforms are working.

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PM Orbán Demands Democratic EU, Exposes Soros-Clinton Ties and Political Agenda

May 20, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

While elites will inevitably maneuver to shape politics in a democracy, it is up to the people to decide on a country’s direction, Prime Minister Orbán emphasized in his regular radio interview this morning. Every thirty years or so, Hungary finds itself in the spotlight on the stage of international politics, he said, but people should not allow themselves to be deterred by the blinding spotlights.

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Elections in Hungary: Where are the ‘free but not fair’ critics now?

May 18, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

A week ago Sunday, something interesting happened on the elections front that went largely unnoticed outside of Hungary. On the 8th, Hungary had a Super Sunday of sorts with nine by-elections taking place in municipalities around the country. Some of the elections turned out as the polls predicted, but others produced a few surprises. Some brought mandates for the governing party, some to the left-wing and right-wing opposition, and a couple of independents were also successful.

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Hungary’s big increase in funds for research and innovation

May 17, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Research and innovation are key factors in many countries’ strategy to boost economic growth, add value to their economies and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI). Hungary has long recognized the importance of its research and development (R&D) sector and, as announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his speech at the Hungarian Academy of Science, is planning to invest some 1.2 billion HUF (3.8 billion EUR) for R&D until 2020.

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Will Brussels Ever Wake Up?

May 12, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

Jaws dropped across the European Union last week as the Eurocrats revealed their latest proposal. Whether it was in the way they dehumanized refugees by putting price tags on their heads or accused elected prime ministers of being undemocratic, the tendentious actions of the Eurocrats seem to be deliberately intended to alienate friends and supporters of the European idea. With the Brexit referendum just around the corner, Eurocrats would do well to exercise more restraint.

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Here’s the golden question in the story about the Hungarian Central Bank

May 09, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

The media is always quick to reach a verdict. “Scandal” and “corruption” appear as frequently in sensationalist headlines as “good day” at a busy newsstand. But there is one, golden question that media coverage has missed in the story of the Hungarian Central Bank and the foundations it established, and that golden question is this: How far does a national bank’s independence extend?

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Forbes: Hungarian reforms are working

May 05, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

A recent installment of the Global Investment Guide, a series published by Forbes, writes on the recovery of the Hungarian economy, noting that Hungary has reported even better than expected results in stimulating economic growth, reducing unemployment and cutting the GDP-to-debt ratio for the first quarter of 2016. Thanks to savvy reforms that work, Hungary’s bonds, equity markets and currency have recovered and are healthy again.

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Why so many competing proposals to protect Europe and its borders?

Apr 25, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

European member states are exceptionally busy these days. Although some critics suggest that they seem asleep at the wheel in the wake of the biggest migration crisis the continent has seen for decades, the European Commission and some individual member states have drafted proposals to respond to the crisis. These plans are currently vying with one another, all in preparation for the upcoming European Council Summit.

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PM Orbán: Differences between Hungary and Germany on migration are now over

Apr 22, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

“When I visit southern Germany, I always find time to visit Mr. Chancellor [Kohl],” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about his latest meeting with former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, adding that they discussed the future of Europe and bilateral relations between Germany and Hungary. Today, in his regular biweekly radio interview, the prime minister had several interesting things to say about both. A few things that may surprise you.

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PM Orbán: Hungary celebrates paying off debt, will propose alternative to EU’s quota system

Apr 08, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

In his regular, radio interview on Friday morning, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that, on the EU’s quota system, “it cannot be the case that one member state alone makes a decision and the others suffer the consequences.” He also spoke about the symbolic significance of paying off the loan and that Hungary has good reason to celebrate this weekend.

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PM’s “Tough Love” is an International Youtube Success

Apr 07, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

A fan’s tribute to Prime Minister Orbán’s March 15 speech has enjoyed remarkable success on Youtube. After the user posted the speech with subtitles in English and called attention to some of the very direct language in the prime minister’s address, the video post garnered more than 200 thousand views within the first week of being published. When I last checked yesterday, the video had 6,000 likes, 100 dislikes and over 3,000 overwhelmingly positive comments.

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PM Orbán on the referendum: ‘The question is not what we think, but what the people think’

Mar 06, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

“Here, there will be no breaking through of the [border] fence, no immigrant uprisings, no refugee camps set on fire and all kinds of gangs will not be out on the hunt for Hungarian women, our wives and daughters. This is impossible, it cannot happen,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “From this perspective, we will not make Europe out of Hungary. This will remain a safe place.”

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‘None of Us Wants a Europe That Surrenders,’ Says PM Orbán

Mar 05, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

“As I see today,” Prime Minister Orbán said, “there are so many problems – and you know it too, that problems don’t just mean trouble, they mean an opportunity as well – within the European Union that many countries have taken up with or are taking up with the idea of creating a deeper form of integration after the common currency. And that puts us, every country, which is not a part of the Eurozone, up to a challenge.”

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As the EU Moves to ‘the Hungarian Solution on Migration,’ Says PM Orbán, Hungary Must Let the People Decide in a Referendum on the Quota System

Feb 28, 2016 - Zoltán Kovács

European leaders gathered in Brussels earlier this month for a European Council meeting on Britain’s proposed reform plans and again on the migration crisis. Though often heated and sometimes personal, the debate took Europe closer to the solution that Hungary and others have been proposing for months on migration: restore order at Europe’s borders before anything else.