Did Viktor Orbán “Lose” the Hungarian Referendum on Migrant Quotas?

The legacy media on both sides of the Atlantic have portrayed the recent referendum in Hungary as a defeat for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Disregarding the fact that 98% of those who voted rejected the EU’s migration quotas, the referendum’s failure to reach the 50% turnout required for a mandatory legal change is painted as a loss for the prime minister.

Any journalist worthy of the description would have examined the facts on the ground — namely, that the Hungarian constitution is being amended to reflect the referendum — and concluded that Mr. Orbán had scored an historic victory. But being a real journalist is a disqualification for a position with the MSM.

Many thanks to JLH for translating this analysis from the Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung, a regional German paper:

A Slap in the Face for Viktor Orbán?

by Florian Stumfall
October 15, 2016

Disagreement over the interpretation and consequences of the Hungarian referendum on EU asylum policy

The participants in the referendum exercised their right to vote. Then EU Parliament President Martin Schulz, and with him all of the Brussels centralists, exulted that the Hungarian referendum on the distribution of asylum seekers among EU states missed the quorum percentage of 50%. Similarly, much of the media spoke of the failing of the referendum in Hungary. And yet, is a participation of only 45% really a slap in the face for Viktor Orbán?

The EU parliamentary president’s interpretation of the result was, “Thanks to the Hungarian people, damage to Europe, that the Hungarian government was willing to accept, has been averted.” Swept under the rug in most analyses of the result is the fact that 98% of those who voted were against the distribution. In absolute numbers, more than three million of about ten million Magyars voted with Prime Minister Orbán — which is more than voted for joining the EU at the time. It seems a stretch to see that as a defeat for Orbán.

The Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, added: “It is a mistake to interpret this as Hungary wanting more immigrants. That, I believe, would be a false interpretation.” According to Kurz, the EU’s goal of distributing asylum seekers among members states is “totally unrealistic.” In an interview with a large German Sunday magazine, he made the following calculation: “If, as is now to be foreseen, we continue as before to distribute the refugees among individual countries, we would need 30 years for 160,000 people. Furthermore, the debate on the distribution of refugees by quota can endanger the coherence of the entire European Union.” In fact, the EU is not endangered by the Hungarian referendum, as Schulz maintains, but by the insistence on distribution quotas.

This topic leads us to Austria’s striking rapprochement with Hungary, albeit no longer in a dynastic sense. In Vienna, the Social Democratic Prime Mister, Christian Kern, followed the lead of his Foreign Minister. He acknowledges: “We know that we can not now accomplish the distribution of refugees,” referring to the Visegrad states of Poland. Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary, which have taken a negative attitude toward the asylum problem.

The Austrian Social Democrat sees no problem in Hungary’s failure to reach a quorum, and expects that to have no consequences. “The outcome of the referendum in Hungary will not alter the state of play,” said Kern. That is, neither the EU nor Hungary will alter its policy. Even before the referendum and therefore without knowledge of its result, the Hungarian prime minister had announced that the plebiscite would have legal consequences. In future, the Hungarian legal system, would be aligned with the principle that only the Hungarian parliament (and not the EU) would determine “with whom Hungarians would and would not choose to coexist.”

Orbán has had sufficient aggravation from eurocrats over a long period of time to know that he was risking a basic conflict with Brussels by taking this action. Perhaps he even counted on it. The EU is assuming responsibility for the right to asylum. Orbán is utilizing the helplessness of the EU, which is recognizable in its inability to place the 160,000 immigrants we know of. To assume a responsibility it is incapable of fulfilling weakens Brussels’ political position, and Orbán would not be who he is if he let this opportunity go by.

And he knows very well that he is not alone, but is playing the role of trailblazer. Besides the Visegrad nations, Austria bolsters his position, as do all the political forces in EU member states as far as France, which have declared war on “merkelesque” immigration policy. How weak Brussels and Berlin are is clear from the fact that the principle of distribution by quota is not being carried out, is gradually fading from memory, and will not be used in the future.

There will be parliamentary elections in Hungary in 2018. Orbán knows that he is at a disadvantage in some policy areas, so he emphasizes the themes in which the majority are behind him; and those are themes concerning the EU and asylum seekers. He knows of his people’s continuing desire to regain more and more sovereignty from Brussels. The Magyar people live an island existence and feel challenged to defend their national distinctiveness. The egalitarianism of the EU does not fit with that. Under this aegis, Orbán can lay claim to a historic task.

12 thoughts on “Did Viktor Orbán “Lose” the Hungarian Referendum on Migrant Quotas?

  1. Let me give my 2 cents here:
    The whole losing the referendum is a big giant propaganda, specially with the 50% stuff.

    So the Hungarian referendum law has a 50% compulsory clause. Why? Because referendums generally proposed by either mass citizen movements or opposition political forces AGAINST a government. This clause built into the law to ensure if there is more than 50% of the voters expressed their opinion about something, the government MUST ACT on that decision, despite its own agenda. (for some reason Germany comes to mind).
    Ok so if the result is less than 50% then it is still VALID, but the government is not forced to act on it. It CAN do something, but NOT FORCED!
    This situation was different in this case. A ruling government initiated the referendum to get confirmation on an existing government policy (fence and refusal on mandatory settlement). Let’s compare the results with previous referendums:

    – lower attendance and less people voted to become a member of the EU,
    – less people voted to Hungary become member of NATO,
    – 15% less people voted in the last EU Parliament election
    – 1 million less people voted Orbán’s government into a very special 2/3 majority position.
    This was all valid! I think this present result was pretty strong!

    Why was low the attendance?
    Hungary has about 8 million people who can vote. (population 10 million). Around 3 million people never votes as the last 30 years statistics show.
    The Liberal/Marxists/Socialist and Communist parties knew their influence is dwarfed compared to the governing party (their power is estimated around 3-5%) but they have a huge influence in the media (estimated around 60-80% – paid by Soros societies)
    So these parties to hide their side real strength called for boycott, knowing the 3 million will not vote as usual and they can claim that number in their propaganda as part of their camp.
    (It is like screaming at the rock: “Stay! Sit! Good rock!” and then claim the rock only stayed stationary because you trained it)

    With 2/3 majority the Orbán government already had the necessary majority to modify the Basic Law (Constitution) so why the referendum? (Some of the voices said it was a waste of money). The reason is because this is how democratic and fair the process. This decision will have long term effects, it is fair to ask the citizens. Also it helped with the opposition propaganda. It is already coming from the MSM in all directions (I have seen Al Jazeera and Fox News articles with almost identical content) that how “fascist, xenophobic, racist” is the government, while “the poor Hungarian people’s hearts are aching for migrants” but this “evil” government not let them have have it.

    Since the referendum more attacks started from the MSM. One week after the referendum the Austrian owner of a post-communist newspaper closed down, saying they are not willing to finance the paper as it generated 5 billion forint = $200 million USD debt. Not enough readers. Why this is important? Because all the MSM in the world started bombarding against the Orbán government closing down the newspaper to suppress free speech. What a heck the government has to do with an Austrian private company? Of course nothing! Truth was never an issue for MSM, just see any report on Trump.
    I think this latest attacks are preparation, – just like before the Yugoslavian war -, to generate the illusion Hungary needs to be “liberated” from the “tyranny”…
    The Globalists can’t tolerate a country, – no matter how small and economically insignificant -, to show hope and a possible example to other side of Europe while they are drowning in the result of their leaders treachery.

  2. Don’t worry Crossware. The M.S.M can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.Especially now people have access to alternative sites online.
    Viktor Orban is an absolute hero as far as the majority of citizens in Australia, Britain Europe and the U.S.A, are concerned .

    Every time Daily Mail online has an article about Hungary building fences and /Viktor Orban defending Hungary from Islamification, the comments section is overwhelmingly united in support for his policies.I have even seen multiple admiring comments from Daily Mail readers anxious to donate money to Viktor Orban to help build the fence.

  3. I am sure you are right. The Marxists would seize on any excuse to “do a Kosovo” on Hungary. That is another reason, as if he doesn’t have enough already, why Orban will not accept a single migrant. Every migrant is a Trojan horse.

  4. Crossware, I agree with your analysis. Furthermore, I think the average Hungarian is way smarter than the uppermost German (Merkel). I also think (but don’t know) that Hungarians don’t forget their history. I haven’t forgotten it, and I’m merely an American of Hungarian descent. They have already been invaded by muslims in the past, why would they want that again? I am fairly sure that, other than the useful idiots, most Germans are not pining and longing for more muslims.

    While I realize that Orban tends to have a heavy hand, I think overall he is good for Hungary because he doesn’t back down before the bullies of the EU. So this calls for a drink to Hungary! Stay free of the invasion, dear fellow Hungarians. Stay strong, Mr. Orban. (I watched a speech by Orban — it may have been right here at GoV — he has principles.

    P.S. Crossware, do you live in Hungary? Just wondering. I have lots of relatives there and I will email them to ask what they think of all this. I might even report back. . .

    • Hi Maria_dee,
      I live in Western Canada for almost 20 years now. I left Hungary just after the collapse of the socialist system. (That was only the start for communists to convert their political power to economical one and get rich by stealing everything was not nailed down) I have my parents and my sister living in Hungary. I visit them every year and frequently talking to my friends.

      You are right, Hungarians do have a collective memory of Islam. My family tree started with my ancestor getting knighted after the Battle Of Belgrade (Nándorfehérvár) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Belgrade_(1456),
      since him almost every generation of my family sacrificed lives for the country.

  5. Just another quick plug for Budapest – great city with friendly people, excellent food, and tons to do! The exchange rate is very favorable for US and Western Europeans right now.

    Vote with your tourist dollars and spend them in nations like Hungary and her sisters, rather than Germany and her ilk.

    • totally agree. The more tourists who visit the better for the country. And more money means more people will benefit. Hungarians are friendly, and love their country. Of course there are the usual leftists there but most of the country is of a conservative mindset. They love life and in conversation can be quite blunt – but to me that is a plus. They don’t beat about the bush like some others. They have long memories of invasion and stifling under the yoke and are not about to let their new found freedom to be taken away from them. Do visit, it is beautiful and very laid back. Most of the year the weather is fine and the food is to die for.

Comments are closed.