Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that the government had decided to hold a referendum on European Union plans for a refugee resettlement quota among the 28 member states.
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
The reason I request your attention is because the government, at its meeting that began this morning, made several decisions. Among those, there is one which I think is of great interest to you.
The government made the decision to hold a referendum regarding the mandatory resettlement quota. This is easiest if I read you the official decision.
‘The government’s 2004/2016 decree on proposing a national referendum:
The government, based on Section 1 of Article 8 of the Fundamental Law, and in following with its powers, will undertake a national referendum with the following question:
‘Do you want the European Union to require the mandatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of the National Assembly?’
The government is calling on the Chief of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister to submit the question in Point 1 for validation to the National Election Committee.
I would like you to know that this has already happened.
Honorable ladies and gentlemen,
This means that according to the government’s position, the decision for mandatory resettlement quota is a decision that cannot be stripped from the National Assembly. No one outside of us, that is, the elected representatives of the Hungarian Parliament, can make this decision for us.
It is well known, that the Hungarian Parliament rejected the mandatory relocation quota. This means that anyone who rejects the mandatory resettlement quota, protests against it, or votes ‘No’ on the referendum, is in reality making a once and for all stand for Hungary’s independence and rejecting the mandatory resettlement quota into Hungary.
With your permission, I would like to share a few reasons for the government’s decision.
First of all, we are convinced that the road chosen by the Hungarian government, a referendum, is a European Union thing. It is a part of European politics. That is why we heartily recommend this to others.
The government feels that one of Europe’s chief values is democracy and that the European Union stands on the pillars of democracy. This means that we cannot make decisions above the heads of the people against the wishes of the European people on an issue that will dramatically change their lives and be a defining factor in the lives of future generations.
The quota would redraw Hungary and Europe’s ethnic, cultural and religious identity.
The Hungarian government feels that the European Union, Brussels, European leaders, or any European body, do not have the authority to do this.
Until now, no one asked the European people whether they want this, whether they accept this, or whether they reject the introduction of mandatory resettlement quota.
We Hungarians feel that the Hungarian government has responded to public opinion when it made the decision to hold a referendum.
We feel that introducing a resettlement quota without the approval of the people is nothing else than an abuse of power. That is why here in Hungary we will ask the people about this question, just as we asked them of their opinion with referendum to join the EU.
Honorable ladies and gentlemen,
These were the things we took into consideration when the government decided to call for a referendum.
Thank you for your attention.”