Gulyas: Organising illegal migration to be punished under criminal code

Once the stricter Stop Soros law has been passed, the organisation of illegal immigration will be written into the criminal code, head of the prime minister’s office Gergely Gulyas said on Thursday.

The amendments of the constitution related to the Stop Soros law as well as the bill itself are scheduled to be submitted to parliament next week, he noted a weekly press briefing. The government received authorisation from voters in the recent general election to protect Hungary from immigration and the people who organise it, he added.

The bill includes amendments to the police act, the penal code, the asylum code, the law on the state border and the law on administrative offences, Gulyas said. The fundamental law will be amended to include a passage on the borders stating that Hungary will only provide asylum if it is the first safe country of arrival, he added.
The “Stop Soros” package of bills, which aims to curb activities of pro-migration NGOs in Hungary, was submitted to parliament ahead of the April 8 election. The government has since decided to make it more draconian.

Concerning a fee planned under the original bill to be paid by organisations that support illegal immigration, Gulyas said that once the bill is tightened, organising and financing illegal immigration will be punishable under the criminal code, so a fee would no longer be at issue.

On the issue of asylum, he said the justice ministry had made plain that Hungary applicants will have to show that they are under direct risk of persecution. This means they must prove that Hungary is the only safe country on their journey. He noted that there is a dispute with the EU on this issue, which, he said, sees asylum as a universal right.

Everyone will be given a chance to prove that they have applied for asylum in the countries they have passed through, he said. But they will have to be able to demonstrate that they were rejected unfairly or were subject to persecution there, too. As far as Serbia is concerned, the government regards European Union candidate countries as safe as member states, Gulyas added.

Meanwhile, he said that the constitutional amendment will also include a passage that allows the establishment of a public administrative court. The idea is to create a new high court that offers a remedial forum at the same level as the Kuria, Hungary’s supreme court, he said, insisting that the measure would not affect the broader judicial system.

The court, an independent public administration body, falls within the bounds of normal European practice as well as Hungary’s own legal traditions, he said. “We’ll be keeping track of what is happening in the National Judicial Council at a distance.” he replied to a question concerning any future changes to the judicial system as a whole. He said the government had not discussed the issue and it was not on the agenda either.

A further change to the constitution will aim to ensure that the household is inviolable. “Everyone’s private home will enjoy constitutional protection,” he said without elaborating. The government will consult with the opposition parties over the constitutional change, he said.

On defence developments, the minister said the army budget would rise by 0.1 percent each year, so by 2026 it will reach the 2 percent of the GDP level required by NATO. Next year, the defence budget will be 80 billion forints bigger, allowing for serious military developments, he added.

On the topic of the Central European University, he noted that an agreement between the government and the CEU must be concluded by Dec. 31 before ratification by parliament.

Commenting on a recent controversy regarding political statements critical of the Constitutional Court for its ruling on the question of the legitimacy of ballots posted without an official envelope, Gulyas said expressing the expectations of society should not be forbidden simply because those convictions are made in a political context. He added that judges, too, have their say on court-related matters.

Asked about a campaign by NGO Human Rights Watch to get the ruling Fidesz party thrown out of the European People’s Party, he said the NGO was financed to a large degree by George Soros and it was therefore no surprise that the government’s migration policy did not meet with its approval. He added that Fidesz was the EPP’s most successful member.

Gulyas said the government will move out of Parliament within a year.

The government plans to submit the 2019 draft budget to parliament on June 13, which is expected to pass it by the end of July, Gulyas said.

Orban: Parlt to pass all bills promised by govt until July 20

Hungary’s national assembly will pass every piece of legislation promised by the government until July 20, including the “Stop Soros” bill, the prime minister said in a video message posted on Facebook on Thursday, following a cabinet meeting.

In its Wednesday session, the government focused on migration, the “Stop Soros” bill and a related constitutional amendment, Orban said in a club of Budapest pensioners. Orban said that Hungary’s economy is “in good shape” and its growth rate is expected to surpass 4 percent, to stand around 4.1-4.2 percent, also in 2019. He said this would allow granting a pension increase and a pension premium again next year.

Source and photo: MTI

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