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Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:29 pm

Poland PM says ruling won't affect migrant stand.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Poland's prime minister says her country will stick by its refusal to take in refugees even though the European Union's top court is reasserting its right to force member states to accept asylum-seekers.

Beata Szydlo spoke on Wednesday after the European Court of Justice rejected efforts by Hungary and Slovakia to stay out of an EU scheme meant to relocate refugees from Greece and Italy. Poland backed the Hungarian and Slovak complaint.

Szydlo says she isn't surprised by the court's decision, but that it "absolutely does not change the position of the Polish government with respect to migration policy." The developments prolong a standoff between the EU members struggling to absorb a large number of asylum-seekers and several Central European nations opposed to accepting migrants.

Hungarian and Polish leaders, in particular, often describe Muslim refugees as potential security threats.
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:39 am

Viktor Orban: EU court ruling opens door to 'mixed culture'.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A ruling by the European Union's top court upholding the relocation of asylum-seekers opens the way to a "mixed culture and population" on the continent, Hungary's prime minister said Friday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that while he "took note" of Wednesday's ruling by the European Court of Justice rejecting legal arguments by Hungary and Slovakia against the EU decision to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy within the bloc, he would continue to oppose the plan.

"Now, instead of a legal fight, we have to fight a political fight," Orban said during an interview on state radio. "We have to get the different EU organizations to say that the decision they made, even if it was legal, was a bad decision ... which the member states can't and won't carry out."

Despite frequent urging by EU officials, only around 27,700 people have been relocated since September 2015. "We are not an immigrant country and Hungary does not want one to be an immigrant country," said Orban. The EU "is trying to transform Europe's traditional population and culture into a continent with a mixed population and a mixed culture."

Hungary built razor-wire fences on its southern borders in late 2015, when some 400,000 migrants from the Middle East and Asia passed through the country on their way to Western Europe. Orban says the fences, which have practically stopped the migrant flow, also protect Austria, Germany and the rest of Europe and has asked the EU to contribute about 440 million euros ($530 millon) to the barriers' cost and maintenance.

The EU said that it would not fund the fences but urged Hungary to apply for money available for "border management." In a written response to Orban, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also reminded the Hungarian leader that his country was the largest recipient of EU developments funds in terms of gross domestic product, with the 25 billion euros allocated in 2014-2020 totaling over 3 percent of Hungary's GDP.

EU mentions of the development funds have drawn strong responses from the Hungarian government, and Orban on Friday again made his position clear. "There is no possibility to set the question of immigration as a precondition for the allocation or distribution of EU funds," said Orban, who has kept immigration on top of his political agenda since 2015. "Such a correlation is illegal."

Hungary has benefited greatly from EU membership, supported by a large majority of Hungarians, but Orban has compared EU bureaucrats in Brussels to Soviet-era apparatchiks and sees "unelected EU officials" as trying to stealthily increase their power over the member states.

The Hungarian government has also conducted several anti-EU campaigns, charging Brussels with trying to "colonize" Hungary and of disregarding Hungarians' support for Orban, who returned to power in 2010. In parliamentary elections expected in April 2018, Orban hopes to regain the two-thirds majority which allowed him in 2012 to introduce a new constitution.

Orban has set countries like Russia and Turkey as models for his efforts to turn Hungary into an "illiberal state," a concept that includes an increasingly dominant role for the state and little regard for the democratic system of checks and balances.
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:52 pm

Gov’t spox (spokesperson) claims New York Times editors “still don’t get it”.

Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács has hit back at New York Times, which criticised Hungary for its migration policy in a weekend editorial, saying they “really still don’t get it”. In a blog entry on the spokesman’s official website posted on Monday, Kovács said the government of Viktor Orbán had “built a fence on the southern border of Hungary because it’s an external border of the European Union’s Schengen Area.” “It was not simply “to tighten his border,” as they say, but to defend Europe and uphold treaty obligations, which include preventing illegal immigration into the EU.

Maintaining the security and integrity of the borders of the Schengen zone, the borderless area that allows freedom of movement, is essential to the EU’s security and the workings of the internal market. That’s a key point here.” Kovács continued: “Strong and secure borders are not making the migration crisis worse. On the contrary! It’s weak, undefended borders that are aggravating the crisis by creating a “pull factor,” encouraging migrants to set out on the dangerous journey. It’s the failure to secure the borders that has fuelled an industry of human trafficking that prey on migrants. And it’s the failure to secure the external borders that has led to hundreds of thousands of migrants illegally entering the territory of the EU.”
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:07 am

Orbán wins the migration argument.

Suddenly most EU leaders echo the Hungarian prime minister.

No one in Brussels wants to say it out loud, but Viktor Orbán is winning the migration debate.

The Hungarian prime minister may be much maligned in European capitals for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, his opposition to the EU’s refugee relocation policy, and for building a border fence.

But look closely at how EU leaders now talk about the issue and the policies they’ve adopted since the 2015 crisis, and it’s clear Orbán’s preference for interdiction over integration has somehow prevailed.

There was an echo of Orbán’s long-standing call for tougher border controls in Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s claim in his State of the Union speech this week that “We are now protecting Europe’s external borders more effectively.”

At other points in the speech, it could easily have been the Hungarian premier speaking, as Juncker emphasized efforts to stop migrants before they leave Africa and return those who reach Europe’s shores. “When it comes to returns: People who have no right to stay in Europe must be returned to their countries of origin,” said Juncker.

While Hungary and Slovakia recently lost their fight against the EU’s relocation scheme at the European Court of Justice, the facts on the ground show that the legal victory for Brussels was hollow.

“Nobody will admit it in this town, but yes, Orbán’s narrative is prevailing,” a senior EU official said.    More at link.
http://www.politico.eu/article/viktor-orban-migration-eu-has-won-the-argument/
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  bb1 on Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:38 am

Some long-overdue common sense - I wonder just how many people have fallen into the hands of human traffickers because of these 'no borders' clowns?

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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 pm

Poland's premier blasts EU before talks with Hungary leader.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, and his Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's prime minister has accused European Union leaders of being politically motivated in criticizing her government's overhaul of the judiciary as being a threat to the rule of law.

Beata Szydlo made the remarks late Thursday, just hours before hosting Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, many of whose policies are also seen by the EU as undemocratic. Szydlo told a pro-government, Catholic radio station that EU leaders have no authority to assess the changes in Poland's court system and that their motives are political. She blames Poland's opposition for having inspired EU censure.

The policies of both countries have faced particular rebuke from the European Commission, the EU's executive body. Szydlo said the criticism from the Commission "often exceeds its powers and is guided by political, not factual, motives."

Szydlo's talks with Orban on Friday will include their refusal to accept any migrants under an EU relocation plan, another area of disagreement with the EU. Orban is also to meet with parliament speakers and with the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland's most powerful politician despite not holding a government post.
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:20 am

Hungary, Ukraine still at odds over Ukraine education law.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary will continue to withhold its support for Ukraine's further integration with the European Union as long as a new Ukrainian education law remains unchanged, Hungary's foreign minister said Thursday.

The education law passed last month specifies that Ukrainian will be the main language used in schools, rolling back the option for lessons to be taught in other languages. Ukraine has some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, mostly in the country's west.

"We consider the new Ukrainian education law a stab in the back of our country," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said, speaking after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin. Ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia, as Hungary calls western Ukraine, fear that the 71 Hungarian schools there could be at risk of having to close, Szijjarto said.

He said relations between neighbors Hungary and Ukraine are "at their most difficult period" since Ukraine declared independence from the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991. Russia, Romania and Moldova have also expressed concerns about the new language law.

Klimkin said not knowing the native language made it hard for minorities to be successful in Ukraine. He said 75 percent of students in an area with a large Hungarian minority failed their high school exit exams.

"Everyone needs the opportunity to fulfill themselves in their country of citizenship," Klimkin said. "But this is not possible without knowing the language." However, he said "not a single school" would be closed or "a single teacher" dismissed because of the new language requirement.

Klimkin said Hungary's move to grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine would not benefit those people. He also alleged that Russia was using the language issue to "manipulate" and "provoke" in Ukraine, including "directly and indirectly" in the Transcarpathia region.

In reply, Szijjarto said ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine "don't need any incitement from anyone to stand up for their own rights." "As long as the Hungarians of Transcarpathia ask us to fight on this issue and not back down, we will fight and not back down," Szijjarto said.
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:55 pm

Police search Scientology center in Budapest.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian police carried out a search at a Church of Scientology center in Budapest on Wednesday. Police said the search by members of the National Investigation Bureau was related to an investigation into the suspected misuse of personal information and other crimes.

Police listed the investigation's target as "unknown persons," a common designation when a specific suspect or suspects have not been identified. Church of Scientology International spokeswoman Karin Pouw called the search "religious suppression under the guise of data protection."

The raid was "an outrageous and wholesale violation of the human rights of all Scientologists in the country," Pouw said in a statement to The Associated Press. "These actions are guided by the discriminatory and hostile purposes of data protection officials who are using the law not as a shield to safeguard others, but as a sword to violate the rights of Scientology parishioners," she said.

Online publication ripost.hu said over 50 police officers surrounded the church's Budapest headquarters on one of the Hungarian capital's busiest roads early Wednesday. Hungarian police confirmed the search took place, but said additional information would not be released because the investigation.

The Church of Scientology is not among the 32 churches officially recognized by Hungary since a widely disputed law on churches and religious matters went into force in 2012.
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:10 am

Hungary marks anniversary of 1956 Soviet reprisal
By Hungary Matters

Hungary’s flag was raised and then lowered to half-mast with military honours in front of Parliament on Saturday to mark the 61st anniversary of the crushing of the 1956 revolution and freedom-fight. The Hungarian government in 2013 declared November 4 to be a national day of mourning. The ceremony in Kossuth Square was attended by President János Áder, Chief of Staff Tibor Benkő, members of the foreign diplomatic and military attaché corps, representatives of Hungary’s military and political parties as well as state officials. The main commemoration ceremony was held at the 1956 memorial in Budapest’s Hargita Square. In the evening, a concert was held in St Stephen’s Basilica in memory of the martyrs of 1956.

Mourners were invited to light candles in memory of the victims of the revolution at the Heroes’ Wall next to the House of Terror museum. A protocol-free commemoration was also held throughout the day at plot 301 of the Rákoskeresztúr Cemetery, where victims of the Soviet retaliation after the revolution are buried in unmarked graves.
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Re: Hungary is new hot spot on migrant route into EU - Part 2

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:30 pm

Hungary accuses US of meddling by funding 'objective' media.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's foreign minister on Wednesday accused the United States government of meddling in his country's internal affairs and upcoming election campaign by offering to fund "objective media in Hungary."

The U.S. has expressed concerns about "negative trends" for press freedom in Hungary, such as a dwindling number of independent news outlets and the increasing control people close to the government have in the media market.

The U.S. State Department last week called for grant applications from media outlets in Hungary based outside Budapest. One goal of the $700,000 program is to "improve the quality of local traditional and online media and increase the public's access to reliable and unbiased information."

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that the U.S. move was "shocking and unusual" among allies. "We don't do such things and we expect our allies to refrain from doing so, as well," Szijjarto said. Over the past month, Hungary's foreign ministry has twice summoned David Kostelancik, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy, over media issues. Kostelancik was first summoned after he spoke to the the Hungarian Association of Journalists outlining the U.S. view of local media.

The U.S.-funded projects would be launched between May and July 2018, while Hungary's elections will be in April. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has often stated that he wanted to achieve majority Hungarian ownership in four economic sectors — media, energy, banking and retail. Only the retail sector, dominated by chain stores like Austria's Spar, Auchan from France and Germany's Lidl and Aldi, remains mostly in foreign hands.

The government has helped allies finance the acquisition of media outlets by placing copious state advertising in those publications and hardly any in independent or opposition outlets. The closure of the leftist daily newspaper Nepszabadsag in Oct. 2016 was a watershed moment in Hungary's media landscape, which has changed significantly over the past year.

Practically all major newspapers published outside Budapest are now in the hands of pro-government publishers, some of whom also own television or radio stations.
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