Oct 03, 2016

Hungary overwhelmingly rejects EU migrant quota plan

The National Election Office has said that 98.3 percent of those who cast a valid vote rejected the migrant quotas - 3.3 million Hungarians

News agencies from around the globe are today leading with the headline that Hungary has rejected the forced migration quotas imposed upon them by the EU.

"Hungarians overwhelmingly rejected a referendum that would demand mandatory European Union quotas for relocating migrants", writes one of many news outlets this morning.

Under the quota agreement, Hungary would have received 1,294 migrants seeking asylum, the UK's BBC reported.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government firmly opposes the plan that would relocate some 160,000 migrants across EU member states and said if Hungary approved the referendum he will resign.

The National Election Office said 98.3 percent of those who cast a valid vote rejected the quotas. The total number of eligible voters was 8,219,404.

Technically, the vote was expected to be not legally binding as the turnout was less than the 50 percent required (reaching 39.86 percent).

The poll results will not be legally binding in Hungary or in the European Union, however the prime minister has stated that the results still reflect the will of the people and are politically binding. A government spokesman confirmed that the outcome was “politically” binding.

During a televised address, the prime minister said he would change his nation’s constitution to make the decision binding.

During the height of the migrant crisis, Hungary became a transit state for those seeking to reach Germany and other EU destinations.

To curb the influx, the country sealed its borders with Serbia and Croatia, a measure popular inside Hungary.

“We lose our European values and identity the way frogs are cooked in slowly-heating water,” PM Orbán said. “Quite simply, slowly there will be more and more Muslims, and we will no longer recognize Europe.

“What we have seen so far from the people’s migration have only been warm-up rounds. The real battle is yet to come,” he said.

After casting his own ballot, PM Orbán said that “Hungarians are aware of what is at the stake. And it’s important because it’s not about the will of the government, it’s not the intention of the parliament. It’s the voice and will of the people that’s most important.”