Islamisation falls under a constitutional ban in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a ceremony celebrating the fifth anniversary of the country’s new constitution in Parliament. The Hungarian government is not in a position to support mass migrations that would lead to a contradiction of the national creed as espoused in the Fundamental Law, he said.
Noting the constitutional obligation to protect Hungarian citizens, Viktor Orbán declared that “we have to know who wants to come in our country and why; we have a right to decide with whom we want to live together and with whom we do not.” He added that this is not contrary to the principle of universal protection for refugees. Orbán said the points he recently declared under “Schengen 2.0” serve to protect the external borders of Europe.
Those who want to come to Europe must go through an evaluation procedure outside the continent’s borders. It is also reasonable to stipulate that illegal migrants must be sent back to their safe place of origin or to a safe third transit country. Any development or visa policy vis-a-vis a non-European country must be conducted with set conditions. Responses to demographic and labour-market challenges must be made within the realm of sovereign states, he said.
Speaking further on the issue of constitutionality, the Prime Minister said that while the European Union has no workable solutions to its various crises, Hungary and Central Europe “are anxious to take action, and are full of energy”. In his view the reason for this difference can be found in the fact that Hungary has a modern constitution, and the Hungarians are able to define where they come from, where they are and where they are heading. “By contrast, Europe denies where it came from and is reluctant to admit where it is heading”, he said.
The Fundamental Law can be solid and durable, Orbán stated, saying that “the foundations for the durability of the constitution can be laid by its tangible political and economic achievements”. In his view, if it is followed by a period of prosperity and improvement, the new constitutional order will strengthen. At the same time, the Prime Minister also voiced some dissatisfaction that the principles laid down in the constitution are being only very slowly realised in lower-level legislation and in public administration and judicial rulings.
Five years after Hungary’s new constitution was passed, it can be stated that the Fundamental Law “fulfils its purpose in every respect”, House Speaker László Kövér said in Parliament at the celebration of the document’s fifth anniversary. Kövér noted that Hungary held a democratic general election, swore in a new government and elected new mayors in its municipalities and counties under the new constitution. The constitution has strengthened the institutional system governed by the rule of law, he insisted.
While the current and former government and state officials gathered in Parliament to celebrate the Fundamental Law’s fifth anniversary, left-wing opposition parties slammed Hungary’s constitution, calling it “anti-democratic” and “divisive” and saying there was “nothing to celebrate” about it.
The Socialists (MSZP) said they wanted “a new constitution, a new republic”. Socialist vice chair István Hiller said that the Fundamental Law was “Fidesz’s constitution… the basic law for an illiberal state”. He insisted that introduction of the current constitution had removed an equilibrium between the ruling and the opposition parties, and ensured exclusive power for the majority. “The republic is dead”, Ferenc Gyurcsány, former Socialist prime minister and current head of the left-wing Democratic Coalition (DK), told a demonstration organised by his party.
Együtt (Together) party called the Fundamental Law the “constitution of a cold civil war”. Party leader Viktor Szigetvári said that if a leftist government were to come to power, the constitution would be scrapped immediately. The PM party said the document embodied “the essence of Orbanism” and called it an “illegitimate heap of paper”. The party said the ruling Fidesz party had “forced” the constitution onto Hungary in 2011. The Liberal Party called the Fundamental Law an “unacceptable, one-party dictate”. Party leader Gábor Fodor said the constitution has undermined the rule of law and for all intents and purposes eliminated checks and balances.