Hungary combats refugee helpers with new law

With immediate effect people in Hungary can be sent to prison if they "assist illegal migration" by, for example, helping migrants who do not have refugee status to apply for asylum. In addition, a constitutional amendment stipulating that in future no "foreign populations" should be allowed to settle in Hungary was passed with only five votes against. Commentators, not only in Hungary, are appalled.

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Zoom (HU) /

Inhuman and hypocritical

Budapest's "Stop Soros" legislation is horrendous, comments András Murányi, the last editor-in-chief of the discontinued left-wing paper Népszabadság, on Zoom:

“This bill and this constitutional amendment conjure up dreadful ghosts of past eras and are the work of incompetent amateurs. With the consequence that Hungary has ceased to be a country - assuming it ever was one. From now on we can distinguish two separate groups on this territory that covers some 93,000 square kilometres: an inhumane, hypocritical group (the leadership and its business partners) and an assisting, impotent crew still seeking an identity (see: the opposition).”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

New poison from Hungary

The Süddeutsche Zeitung sees the legislative package as an affront to the EU:

“The Hungarians have ignored the Council of Europe's request that it wait for the Council's statement before voting on the legislation. Orbán is thus sprinkling a new dose of poison into Europe's refugee debate. His allies will no doubt try to take advantage of the impetus from Budapest in the upcoming negotiations. Those who set their sights beyond the next state parliamentary election would do well to resist this - and work together with the pragmatists on European solutions.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Orbán constructing a regional powerhouse

This is another Hungarian law that will soon be imitated elsewhere in the region, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung warns:

“Orbán proved that he is not just a power politician but also a productive ideologist back in 2014 with the propagation of 'illiberal democracy'. Today this is practiced in many places in Southeastern Europe. The Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic has rigorously implemented the concept and now governs without any real supervision by the parliament or the judiciary, his rule legitimised only by the plebiscite of the people. ... In Macedonia, Orbán is an important ally of the nationalist conservatives. ... Orbán is busily constructing a regional powerhouse with which he wants to challenge the ideological dominance of the liberal West Europeans in the EU. Little Hungary should not be underestimated in this role.”