The Brexit has encouraged Hungary to go forward with their own referendum
Spurred on by Britain’s shock vote to quit the EU, Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban is forging ahead with his own referendum on migration and refugees, in what European diplomats see as a sign of battles to come with anti-Brussels populists across the continent.
The 53-year-old Orban, in power since 2010, has clashed several times with the EU on issues ranging from independence of the courts and the central bank to his handling of the migrant crisis, which has included a fence on Hungary’s southern border.
His next clash pits him against an EU Commission plan to resettle refugees across member states based on quotas, which Orban sees as an act of out-of-touch Brussels bureaucrats usurping national authority.
“We need to fight to prove to people that it is possible to form an EU migration policy that is in line with the Hungarian national interest,” Orban said days after the Brexit vote.
“This is going to be a long struggle for which I will need a strong mandate, which cannot be ensured without a referendum,” said Orban, who is in favor of remaining in the EU but wants more powers for member states.
Orban has enlisted allies, such as neighboring Slovakia, which also opposes the quotas and this week joined a chorus of eastern EU states calling for the powers of the EU Commission to be reined in after Britain’s vote to leave.
“We have a big problem with the proposed reform of the Dublin system,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said.
“We think it’s stupid, because this is exactly what will keep dividing Europe if (countries) will be asked to pay 250,000 euros (US$277,000) for each migrant they refuse to take.”
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