The government has adopted a draft package called “Stop Soros”, under which “promoters of illegal migration” would be required to share data with the authorities, and would have to pay a 25 percent tax on donations from abroad, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter announced on Wednesday. Opposition parties are heavily criticising the announcements and the government’s inability to explain the “secret resettlement” of migrants.
Pinter also suggested that Hungarians “organising immigration” could be banned from the Schengen border zone under the new laws. He added that Hungarian citizens cannot be banned from the country, but foreign nationals “might”.
Zoltan Kovacs, the government spokesman, referred to the package as “Stop Soros” laws. Concerning details of the proposed legislation, Pinter said that those “contributing to illegal migration” would be required to share information with a law court, which would keep “accessible” records of the data shared. The text of the draft will be published on Thursday.
Kovacs detailed the most important measures on his blog, About Hungary:
1. Every organisation that supports illegal immigration by using foreign financial resources would be registered and obliged to report on its activity.
2. A tax would be imposed on the foreign funding of organisations supporting illegal immigration. This public income would be invested in border protection.
3. It would be possible to issue restraining orders against those who take part in organising illegal immigration. In essence, such restraining orders would apply in any area that is within 8 kilometres of the Schengen border. In special cases, a third-country citizen would be subject to a restraining order anywhere within Hungary. This measure would remain in force until the end of the migration crisis.
Agoston Samuel Mraz, the head of the Nezopont Institute told Hungarian daily Magyar Idok before the announcement that the package is a “symbolic act of defence” against George Soros. According to Index.hu‘s interpretation this means that the package isn’t really tangible.
During the Q&A, journalists asked Kovacs and Pinter about the recent press speculations, that the government intends to ban George Soros from entering Hungary, despite the fact that it’s not possible, as he has a Hungarian citizenship. Answering to Hungarian news site Alfahir.hu, Kovacs and Pinter said that the restraining orders concern those, who themselves admit their involvement in helping illegal immigration, so Soros is not automatically subjected to this. When asked whether this means they’re not sure that the so-called “Soros plan” (about which the government organised a state-funded national consultation) really exists, Kovacs said he hadn’t said that Soros is not involved in such activities, but the restraining order is based on self-declaration.
N1TV and HirTV asked the officials about the case of 1300 refugees whom Hungary provided asylum last year, despite the government’s refusal to take part in the EU’s relocation scheme which would have meant the relocation of 1300 people and the government’s protest caused infringement procedures and court cases. Kovacs and Pinter said that the government opposes the quota scheme, because it would harm Hungary’s sovereignty and the EU wants to resettle illegal immigrants into its member states. They stressed that besides that, Hungary is processing the asylum requests it receives according to the Geneva Convention, which it respects 100%. HirTv pointed out that according to the government’s opinion migrants who have crossed several safe countries, can’t be refugees, but – leaving this argument unanswered – Pinter insisted that the 1300 people in question are indeed refugees.
Opposition parties didn’t find their explanations satisfactory. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) issued a statement, which simply said: “1300”. The strongest opposition party, Jobbik criticised the announcements, claiming that neither Pinter, nor Kovacs was able to properly explain what the package is about. According to their statement, “Fidesz can’t explain why it spent tens of billions of taxpayers’ money on lying propaganda during the last 3 years, while at the same time secretly resettling 2300 migrants into Hungary”.
Over the past three years, Prime Minister Viktor Orban “generated mass hysteria” in Hungarian society over the issue of migration, spending 22 billion forints (EUR 71m) on a referendum campaign and “national consultation” public survey and promising that Hungary would not allow the forced settlement of migrants, Jobbik’s chairman Gabor Vona told a press conference the day before. Yet the government is now pretending as if nothing had happened, he added. Jobbik is calling for an extraordinary session of parliament and expects Orban to give account of the issue in person, he said.
Source: Hungary Journal/MTI