Since the start of the European Migrant Crisis, Hungary has been in the headlines. It has been a destination and holding places for thousands of migrants. Yet, Hungary has had a strong stance against taking in Syrian refugees and many migrants in general. Led by far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary build a razor sharp fence to protect the border. Most recently, Orban held a referendum to ask the Hungarian people their opinion on the issue.
This referendum was unique, however, as it contained no real legislation or action by the government. Instead, it was whether or not to “refuse to allow the European Union to force the country to accept refugees.” While over 98 percent of those who voted wanted to go against the EU, only 40 percent of the country voted. In Hungary, a referendum must have at least 50 percent turnout in order to be considered legally binding.
PM Orban had intended this referendum to validate his desires to take more extreme action against immigration. He is in a precarious position, however, because his country is in need of EU funds and deals, so he can’t demand too much autonomy even though that is what he desperately wants. What he originally intended to do if the referendum passed was largely unknown. Now, there is even more uncertainty. Even with the vote being non-binding, PM Orban believes the people are behind him and said “We can be proud to be the first E.U. state to let its people express their own views on the issue of immigration.”
Original Article can be read at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/03/world/europe/hungary-to-vote-on-accepting-more-migrants-as-europe-watches.html?_r=0