European Council (EC) president Donald Tusk (right) confirmed in an official letter that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (left) voted in favor of refugee resettlement quotas in February when the council approved the plan, reports 24.hu.
The letter was sent to opposition party Democratic Coalition (DK) vice-president Csaba Molnár after he had sought out Tusk over the matter. According to the EC president, the council unanimously approved a decision to initiate a quota system for temporarily settling asylum seekers during the processing of their cases. Orbán, too, signed the document.
“All of the decisions agreed to last December must be completed as quickly as possible, decisions related to the transfer of migrants within the union, and also the measures ensuring their return and readmission,” reads the resolution in part.
DK spokesman Zsolt Gréczy said Orbán is lucky Sunday’s referendum was invalid because now he won’t have to go against his own earlier decision in favor of the quotas. Gréczy added that Orbán owes the country an explanation as to “why he misrepresented himself as an anti-quota politician and why he initiated a referendum against his own decision.”
Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) politicians had already confronted Orbán before the referendum, asking him how many times he had vetoed decisions in the EC. Party representatives Gábor Harangozó and Márta Demeter claim Orbán is only a brave, fierce warrior here in Hungary, but when he is among EU prime ministers in the EC he passively accepts everything.
The EC adopts decisions only by consensus, and thus is able to draft a “Conclusions” document after every meeting. Orbán accepted these decisions “without exception,” including all of those which dealt with the distribution, acceptance and transfer of refugees. In fact, Orbán would have had a chance to veto EC decisions concerning refugees no fewer than six times, during related EC meetings on June 25-26, 2015, October 15, 2015, December 7-18, 2015, February 18-19, 2016, March 17-18, 2016 and June 28,2016. Orbán didn’t veto any of the decisions adopted during those meetings, and signed each of the Conclusions papers, thereby giving his approval.