Hungary PM Warns of More Brexit-like 'Challenges' Without EU Overhaul on Immigration

Hungary set to hold its own referendum that could give it basis for rejecting EU-dictated migration quotas.

Hungary's Prime minister Viktor Orban arrives before an EU summit meeting on June 28, 2016 at the European Union headquarters in Brussels.
Philippe Huguen, AFP

REUTERS - The European Union will face more big challenges in the wake of Britain's decision to leave if it fails to get to grips with the migration crisis, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday.

Orban, a staunch EU critic, told state television m1 that in his view migration was the decisive issue in last week's British referendum.

"The important question is what lessons to draw from what happened, for us Europeans who are still members of the European Union and want to stay in," Orban said.

"If the EU cannot solve the migration situation then such challenges as we saw in the case of the United Kingdom will increase."

Orban's ruling Fidesz party has initiated a referendum of its own, to be held in September or October, on whether Hungary should reject any future mandatory quotas from Brussels to resettle migrants arriving en masse from countries such as Syria.

Hungary, which built a fence on its southern border to keep out migrants, has repeatedly accused the EU of weakness in the face of the crisis, calling for tough policies like fortified borders and strict immigration procedures.

Politicians in several other countries have proposed referendums of their own on EU membership, largely on the grounds of what they see as a failed immigration policy.

"Plebiscites are raised in more and more places because the European Union is seen as unable to tackle the situation," Orban said. "And it criticizes countries that remedy the situation on their own, instead of honoring and supporting them. That is bad politics."

He said Hungary's referendum was about winning a political mandate for an impending European debate in which member states will have to thrash out a robust new migration policy.

"Our goal is to stop (migrants). Many countries here have a different goal: to let them in, or bring them in, then spread them around... There will be no unified migration policy until we make clear what goals to use Europe's resources for."