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Oct 28, 2016

Constitutional amendment is a 'national issue' and not about politics or economics

The prime minister said that “the Seventh Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary is an issue of national interest and cannot be linked to any party political debate or economic issue”

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said a proposed amendment to the Hungarian constitution aimed at halting the EU's forced migration quotas was a "national" issue and had nothing to do with politics or economics.

Speaking on Kossuth Radio’s “180 Minutes” program, the prime minister said that “the Seventh Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary is an issue of national interest and cannot be linked to any party political debate or economic issue”.

PM Orbán highlighted that a referendum in which 98 percent of voters had rejected the mandatory resettlement of refugees in Hungary was rendered invalid because of a low turnout, and that he requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority to enact a constitutional amendment.

The far right opposition Jobbik party has said it would support the amendment, if the government terminated a residency bond scheme allowing anyone who invested 300,000 euros permanent residency in Hungary.

The prime minister pointed to the unresolved outcome of a European Union summit last week regarding the mandatory quotas, and said the issue would have to be revisited in December.

The prime minister also threatened to sue the European Commission unless it dropped the mandatory migrant quota scheme, stating "that's why we need the constitutional amendment'.

When asked about Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's threat to veto the EU budget, the prime minister said that if Italy had followed the Schengen agreement on outer EU borders, the problem would not exist. However, he did note that he felt Europe had not been giving Italy the help it needed, and said that Frontex, the EU's border agency, was "not dealing with border protection."

The prime minister also rejected claims that Hungary was being "uncooperative" because the country had built border fences not just to protect home soil but also Europe as a whole during the migrant crisis.