Hungary has vetoed the EU price range for “extorting” immigration, mentioned Prime Minister Orban

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Summit of EU leaders in Brussels

By Marton Dunai

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary has vetoed the European Union budget for 2021-2027 and the Coronavirus Recovery Fund for forcing it to accept immigration, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday.

Hungary, together with Poland, vetoed the budget and the recovery plan on Monday, arguing that the budget law contains a clause making access to money conditional on compliance with the rule of law.

Orban is a staunch opponent of mass immigration because it dilutes national and European identity. The EU has initiated proceedings against Hungary for violating democratic norms.

“Once the current proposal is adopted, there would be no obstacle to tying the disbursement of funds to member states to support for immigration and to blackmail countries that oppose immigration with budget sanctions,” Orban said in one of the state’s MTI news agency issued a statement.

There are no specific immigration clauses in the budget and recovery package, and political analysts said Orban’s comments are aimed at bolstering the support of his domestic constituents by re-using anti-immigration rhetoric.

DEFENDING BORDERS

Orban said Hungary was bound by the rule of law, but added: “Anyone who defends their borders and defends their country against immigration can no longer be considered law-abiding in Brussels.”

He added that Hungary accepted the recovery fund and long-term budget package in July “because we are committed to European solidarity and provide financial aid as soon as possible to the states that need it”.

The wording of conditionality in the political agreement attached to the package has been watered down at the insistence of Hungary and Poland.

Political capital analyst Patrik Szicherle commented on Orban’s latest statement: “This is a political narrative for a domestic audience.

“Since the 2015 migration crisis, Orban has attributed any criticism of the Hungarian government or (its record of) the rule of law to a rejection of immigration or to George Soros.”

Orban’s government has long demonized the Hungarian-born billionaire philanthropist, accusing him of promoting mass immigration, which Soros denies. His support for an open liberal society collides with Orban’s nationalist ideology.

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