What changed Orbán’s mind on the Dublin III Regulation?

It says a lot about the state of affairs in Hungary that the Hungarian media and hence the Hungarian public had to learn from an Austrian newspaper that the Hungarian government had repealed the Dublin III Regulation governing refugee policy within the European Union for an unspecified length of time because of “technical difficulties.”

In an “exclusive” article the Austrian Die Presse revealed late yesterday evening that “the Hungarian Ministry of Interior has informed the authorities in Vienna of its refusal to accept any refugees who have crossed through Hungary and moved on the other member states.” The same message was sent to Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, and Germany. Government spokesman  Zoltán Kovács, who was interviewed by Die Presse, explained that Hungary is looking after 3,000 refugees already, and “the boat is full.” The country cannot take any more refugees. The Austrian Foreign Ministry called in the Hungarian ambassador for consultation.

Brussels’s reaction to Hungary’s unilateral suspension of the Dublin agreement was immediate and surprisingly sharp. The European Commission asked for “an immediate clarification” of the nature and extent of the “technical difficulties” and expressed its dismay at Hungary’s unilateral decision on the matter. Die Presse‘s take on Viktor Orbán’s latest assault on the legal structure of the European Union was that he wanted to put pressure on the European Union before the Brussels summit scheduled for Thursday.

Hungarian journalists, who tried to find out more about the EU reaction in Brussels, learned that a unilateral move in contravention of a hard-and-fast rule such as Dublin III is unheard of. What Hungary could do if it is unable to fulfill its obligations is to ask for additional financial assistance. Mind you, it will be difficult to argue that Hungary is overburdened by refugees returned from western countries when their number over the last year was 827. One possible outcome of Viktor Orbán’s “naughtiness” will be another useless infringement procedure, although the Demokratikus Koalíció also suggested that Hungary’s refusal to cooperate might mean a loss of EU subsidies that are earmarked for the upkeep of refugees while their cases are being investigated.

That was the situation last night. This morning the ministry of interior, which is responsible for handling the refugee issue and was the one that informed a score of countries of Hungary’s decision, changed its story. What the ministry said last night was “misunderstood.” Hungary is not planning to abrogate the Dublin agreement. The government is simply asking for “a little patience.” According to EU standards, Hungary has accommodations for only 1,500 people, but 3,500-4,000 refugees are currently in the country. According to the ministry of interior, the western countries would like to send 600-700 people back to Hungary, and the government is asking for “technical patience,” whatever that means, only in their case.

In addition, this morning the cabinet held a meeting after which Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, gave a brief press conference during which they reiterated this latest version of Hungary’s policy on the refugee issue. Any suspension of the EU rule is out of the question. The Hungarian government will “begin consultations with the first deputy president of the EU,” Frans Timmermans.

Whatever happened between yesterday afternoon and this morning, it had to be something that made a strong impression on Viktor Orbán and his crew. Moreover, it is doubtful that the idea of “consultations” was initiated by the Hungarian government. More likely than not, Timmermans strongly urged Szijjártó & Co. to report to him on Hungary’s policy. I wish Szijjártó the best of luck in trying to explain the exact position of the government on the matter. At the moment the messages coming from various ministries are so confusing that I doubt that even top government officials know what the real situation is.

In Brussels the Hungarian government most likely will try to argue that those refugees who come to Hungary through Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia are coming from “safe”countries and therefore are not eligible for protection on the territory of Hungary. I doubt that this argument will float. Admittedly, the Dublin III agreement is unfair in the sense that certain countries, like Hungary and very soon Slovenia and Croatia, have to carry most of the burden of the overland refugee explosion. But, under the present circumstances, the best Hungary can hope for is financial and personnel assistance in dealing with the refugees.

Otherwise, the government is proceeding with its plans to build a fence along the Serbian border, which many western politicians condemn as an act that might create a chain reaction. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, speaking in the Italian senate, said that “those of us who saw the destruction of walls will have to be the ones who prevent the raising of such walls again in Europe.” Szijjártó announced that, if necessary, they will erect fences not only between Hungary and Serbia but between Hungary and other countries as well. I wonder which countries he has in mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the government extended the fence toward the west, along certain parts of the Croatian-Hungarian border.

Great efforts are also being made to catch refugees. Thousands of policemen are already patrolling the Serbian-Hungarian border. Today a huge police raid was conducted in Szeged, apparently prompted by the complaints of some residents about refugees hiding in the city. One such helpful citizen was interviewed this morning on TV2. She is an older woman who spends her entire day along the border, searching for refugees and handing them over to the police. Today’s police raid was successful. By 4 p.m. 728 refugees had been rounded up just in the city of Szeged.

MTI / Zoltán Gergely Kelemen

MTI / Zoltán Gergely Kelemen

László Toroczkai, the infamous neo-Nazi who has been banned from Slovakia, Romania, and Serbia because of his openly irredentist views and illegal activities and who became mayor of Ásotthalom in 2013, created a “civil guard” of about 15 volunteers who patrol and alert the local police. A reporter for the Irish Times encountered Toroczkai, who said that sometimes the refugees “break into an empty farmhouse to sleep or change clothes. But occasionally the owner comes back when they’re inside–and who would be pleased to find an Afghan or African family in their home like that?” A reporter from Al Jazeera experienced first hand the prejudice of Hungarians. He described a young woman reporter, most likely from the state television station, who “speaks of [the refugees] to us as though they are vermin.”

Viktor Orbán’s policy, which was sold as defending Hungarians from dangerous strangers, resonates with about 75% of the population. And so it is not surprising that, according to the latest opinion poll, Fidesz has rebounded, turning around the downward trend in its support over the past few months. The refugee issue was a godsend to Viktor Orbán.

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exTor
Guest

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2015/06/19/a-compulsory-course-on-the-holocaust-at-the-hungarian-catholic-university/comment-page-1/#comment-98697

Forgive the unorthodox nature of this leadoff post.

I just made a section-closing post to the June 19th A Compulsory Course on the Holocaust at the Hungarian Catholic University article by Éva.

Its comments section had to put up with numerous [15] posts by AW Kovacs, who (amongst other things) propounded his racism.

I believe that the Hungarian Spectrum readership will enjoy my take on the good Reverend, who also might see some good in it. Link to the light.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

That phrase, asking for a “little patience”, is such a Hungarian one and is basically saying, “Stuff you, I’ll deal with you when I feel like it.” On our first trip to Hungary back in 1997 my wife was shocked when she asked two shop assistants, who were idly chatting behind the counter, for some help and was told, “Egy kis türelmet!” (as I recall), meaning “a little patience” while they continued their chat!

Hopefully the EU will run out of patience, technical or otherwise, with Orbán very soon.

petofi
Guest

The two shop assistants’ reaction is typical of the inferiority-laced mindset of mental midget Hungaricoes–it abounds and abides.

You can take Hungarians out of communism but you can’t take the communism out of Hungarians…

Brit in Hungary
Guest

It is perhaps a typical example of the bizarre diplomacy that this govn displays. I have followed this story a bit but not in detail – and now I am wondering what has been going on over the past 5 years that the refugee situation is now such a deep crisis for Hungary? In what way is this not a massive failure of government policy? To reach the point of unilaterally and secretely breaking EU commitments in this way seems less about problems with the EU and more about distraction from govn failure or simple scaremongering. Does not this set a standard in the country – if you don’t like the laws, break them. Is this not Hungary treating the EU and its neighbours in exactly the way it is directing immigrants not to do – if you come to Hungary, obey our laws and respect our culture..but if you are a member of the EU its ok to break the laws, disrespect all

cimbi
Guest
You are right. But as it was said Orban always, always asks what the maximum legal damage could be? If it is small (or voters wouldn’t even understand the nature of the damage) or would come late after complicated procedures Orban simply disregards the law. If there is a real threat then he will compile the legal paperwork to back up the deals, will amend laws, select very reliable people who will not break in any legal procedure and so on. This is because the legal system – according to lawyers – must contain credible penalties, sanctions if compliance is to be expected. If Orban sees that these legal rules are, as lawyers say, lex imperfecta (not backed up by credible legal sanctions), he ignores them. It’s as if those laws are non-existent. This is how lawyers operate, this is what their profession is about. In Orban’s eyes Western Europeans may afford to be gentlemenly and polite but Eastern European lawyers from rural Hungary couldn’t care less. Respectfulness and reasonableness are for well-fed, rich Westerners not for power and money hungry Eastern Europeans. You want us to behave? Then create tougher and smarter laws – he says. Orban reacts only… Read more »
Dodi
Guest

And the immigration/migration/refugee issue will surely not be any less pressing in the coming years. The demographic situation in the Middle East and Africa is terrible, there are just untold millions of poor young people who cannot have any meaningful jobs home and will continue to come to Europe.

Ergo Orban will remain entrenched because people will keep being afraid of dark skinned poor people.

Orban hit the jackpot — case closed.

eugeneloretta
Guest

The very morning after the interview, at my office some charming Hungarian ladies informed me that their beloved country admitted sixty thousand immigrants this year. They also told me that the interview in the Austrian newspaper was nothing else but an ‘invention’. It was a happy match to a chat between two other charming ladies I had heard on my way to the office. They were talking about the ‘Jewish EU’.
Maybe the Hungarian PM hit at least two jackpots.

David Sade
Guest

I must add that the ever repeated “40 thousand refugees came to Hungary” phrase that the Hungarian regime is repeating over and over again as reasoning for their policies is just playing with words… This way they can also claim that Hungary receives yearly 853 thousand flights yearly she has to deal with. These are ‘fly-overs’ in the Hungarian air space, just as the 40 thousand refugees are. They come and go within 1-3 days without causing any distress or burden to Hungary. The rest is just the propaganda machine of the Orban regime.

The problem exists, it is true. But it is the EU that has to deal with it, not Hungary. Italy, which has to deal with the greatest of burdens, didn’t go down on the path that Hungary’s repressive regime has done.

All those EU officials and private individuals who deal and/or interested in Hungarian affairs should have realised by now that not one word the Orban regime is conveying to them via their propaganda machine and ‘official channels’ are deceptions and outward lies.

YoYo555666777
Guest

I think that the Hungarian left-wing will totally disappear in the next round of polls.

In such a hysteria we are having now in Hungary nobody is curious (and nobody can appear as being curious) about mute and soft leftists, at most about Jobbik.

As they say in Hungarian: Szegény embert az ág is húzza, Once the Hungarian left-wing became such a corrupt, divided, amateurish, weak bunch it also became unlucky, unpopular and therefore in the eyes of the voters dumb too. They can’t catch a break and the immigration issue won’t go away, that’s for sure. They haven’t been able to gain even in luckier times, in these hysterical times they are finished. Like in 1930’s the Social Democrats weren’t too lucky or assertive in Hungary (or in Germany).

Jon Van Til
Guest
The new book I mentioned a few weeks back has now been published by the CEU Press: http://www.ceupress.com/books/html/Hungarian_Patient.htm I trust it shows that the Hungarian opposition is still alive, if not yet fully well. Here are the contents: Diagnosis 1 Broken Democracy, Predatory State, and Nationalist Populism András Bozóki 3 2 Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Disabling the Constitution Miklós Bánkuti, Gábor Halmai, and Kim Lane Scheppele 37 3 Enhancing the Effectiveness of Basic Rights Protection in the Ombudsman’s Activity: Toward a European Type of Ombudsman System Máté Szabó 47 Symptoms 4 Party Colonization of the Media: The Case of Hungary Péter Bajomi-Lázár 59 5 Captured by State and Church: Civil Society in Democratic Hungary Ágnes Kövér 81 6 Political Empowerment or Political Incarceration of Romani? The Hungarian Version of the Politics of Dispossession Angéla Kóczé 91 7 Timike and the Sweetie Pies: Fragmented Discourses about Women in Hungarian Public Life Ágnes Kövér 111 8 The Rise of the Radical Right in Hungary András Tóth and István Grajczjár 133 Immune Reaction 9 Social Responses to the “Hybridization” of the Political System: The Case of Hungary in the Central and Eastern European Context Péter Krasztev 167 10 The Road of the Hungarian Solidarity… Read more »
Long
Guest
This maybe an interesting book. However I hope it’s better than “Welcome to the desert of post-Socialism” by Strecko Horvath and Igor Stiks which is about “the Balkans”. I haven’t read any of the articles but the question what should be investigated and is mostly ignored is economy. How capitalism and free/open markets affected an anyway indebted, under-industrialized, land-locked country with few natural resources but with a huge rural population (not statistics-wise because on paper most Hungarian people were classified as “urban”, but outside Budapest this category rarely exists in the modern Western sense). In 1990 there was not a single company in Hungary – well, apart from maybe half a dozen pharmaceutical companies – which would have had the necessary know-how to operate like a real firm (product development, marketing, international sales, r&d etc.). It’s not a surprise to me that Hungary follows the Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian (although they are overtaking Hungary in many respects) path to democracy — there is no real middle class/bourgeoisie outside Budapest and no such tradition either really (there was some such tradition in towns which now belong to Slovakia or Romania or even Serbia, ie. Ujvidék but not much in current Hungary). I… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Orban’s son-in-law, street lights, EU money, overcharging….

Investigative journalism:

http://444.hu/2015/06/25/megmagyarazhatatlanul-draga-lampakat-hagyott-maga-utan-tiborcz/

tappanch
Guest

Financial institutions have to pay an extra 175 billion to compensate uninsured bondholders, whose money have disappeared in the hands of Orban’s cronies.

Details:

http://www.portfolio.hu/befektetes/eldolt_a_brokerugy_szazmilliardokat_fizethetnek_artatlanul.1.215996.html

tappanch
Guest

Questor: 153.8
Buda-Cash: 17.7
Hungaria: 3.6 billion HUF

Keywords: conversion of public money to private money, outright fraud, retroactive legislation

tappanch
Guest

Retroactive legislation was also created in April to make it impossible to sue to find out how and where the money had disappeared from Quaestor:

http://index.hu/gazdasag/bankesbiztositas/2015/04/14/megint_nem_eri_meg_becsuletesnek_lenni/

petofi
Guest

Good work, tappanch.

Guest

Re: “.” On our first trip to Hungary back in 1997 my wife was shocked when she asked two shop assistants, who were idly chatting behind the counter, for some help and was told, “Egy kis türelmet!” (as I recall), meaning “a little patience” while they continued their chat!”

Fascinating. At least you got a response. I can recall my wife and I going into a restaurant north of Budapest a ways back during the ‘cold war’. The etterem was open. Went in and sat down to eat. The proprietors saw us. Hehe…I will say they did not come over.

They did not serve us even after we waited for a bit. I got the impression that it was something about ‘kulfoldis’. Nothing like knowing language to help get an orientation to understanding Magyar hospitality! Communism surely had to help dent the Hungarian penchant for hospitality. It also appears to have Magyars singing now in a Jim Morrison of the Doors voice as in the past, ‘People are strange when you’re a stranger, faces look ugly when you’re alone’.

tappanch
Guest

After giving the tobacco retail licenses to friends & family in 2013 , the Orban government just monopolized the tobacco wholesalers.

The chosen friends will pay a yearly 0.01 billion HUF this year, and a maximum of 0.6 billion later. The competition sent an offer of paying about TEN (!) times the money to the Hungarian budget.

The Orban government refused to even contemplate this counter offer today.

http://444.hu/2015/06/25/lazar-janos-baratjan-kivul-egyszeruen-senki-nem-felelhet-meg-a-dohanynagykeres-nagypenz-bezsebelesehez-kapcsolt-torvenyi-felteteleknek/

tappanch
Guest

Priorities.
The Hungarian government spends, from its own resources on

anti-refugee propaganda in May and June: 1.35 billion HUF
refugees: 0.59 billion
help for Gypsy communities (almost 10% of the population) 0.91 billion

http://atlatszo.hu/2015/06/24/roma-felzarkoztatasra-is-kevesebbet-kolt-magyarorszag-mint-a-menekultellenes-kampanyra/

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