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Hungary to vote on EU migrant relocation

July 5, 2016

President Janos Ader has called for a referendum in October over the EU's policy of mandatory migrant relocation within the bloc. The country has been vocal in its opposition to the EU's resettlement policy.

Ungarn Flüchtlinge an der Grenze zu Serbien
Image: picture alliance/dpa/S. Ujvari

An announcement from the office of Hungarian President Janos Ader on Tuesday said that a referendum would be held on October 2. Ader's office said that voters will be asked to answer the question "Do you want the European Union to prescribe the
mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?"

At the height of the refugee crisis in Europe, many migrants seeking entry into the EU entered the bloc via Hungary. The government put a stop to this by erecting barbed-wire fences along its southern border with Serbia in September.

The solution agreed by the EU - to redistribute migrants across the bloc based on a quota system - was met with intense opposition in Hungary, which has joined Slovakia in bringing a case to the European Court of Justice.

The quota seeks to evenly distribute some 120,000 asylum seekers already in the EU among the EU member states.

Prior to Tuesday's official announcement, Prime Minister Viktor Orban had said that voting "no" in the referendum would be a vote "in favor of Hungary's independence and rejecting the mandatory settlement plan."

Many migrants have continued to line up at checkpoints along the border fences in order to apply for asylum in Hungary.

mz/jm (dpa, Reuters, AFP, AP)