Hungary is a country located in Central Europe, according
to Digopaul. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in January that
the EU should build fences along Greece's northern border
with Turkey to stop migrants from entering the Union. The
government also said that the country was prepared to build
its own fence along its eastern border with Romania. Hungary
already had razor blade fences along the southern border
with Serbia and Croatia.
Orbán's government opposed the EU's decision to
compulsorily allocate quotas with asylum seekers among
member states. The government therefore decided to hold a
referendum on Hungary's attitude to EU refugee policy. The
EU reacted, pointing out that the quota decision was taken
by all EU members.
In Miskolc in northern Hungary, a protest movement was
launched against the government's education system, which
was accused of being politicized, authoritarian and
detailed. The protest was supported by schools throughout
the country. Demonstrations were held outside the Parliament
in Budapest with demands for a return to locally run schools
and freedom for teachers to choose textbooks. The government
started negotiations with the teachers and replaced a
responsible secretary of state.
In March, the Swedish Migration Court stopped the refusal
of asylum seekers to Hungary in accordance with the Dublin
Convention. The Court considered that they risked inhumane
treatment and were not guaranteed protection since Hungary
made it possible to send asylum seekers back to Serbia and
from there backwards so that they could end up in the
countries they were moving from.
Orbán strengthened his powers when he passed a law in
March that gave the government the right to decide on new
budget expenditures without Parliament's scrutiny and
without having reported funding.
Negotiations between the government and the teachers'
unions failed, and in April, teachers in about 1,200 schools
went on a one-day strike. They demanded more freedom, more
resources and better working conditions.
In June, Parliament voted for additional powers to the
government in the fight against terrorism, including through
increased surveillance and wider use of the army. The
opposition protested and warned that the expanded power
could be abused by Prime Minister Orbán. Among other things,
the government can now repeal the existing law and introduce
extra powers of power for 15 days in a situation termed a
In August, Orbán said that a new fence with technically
advanced surveillance equipment would be set up at the
border with Serbia to counter possible new waves of
migrants. The new barrier would strengthen the old in the
event that Turkey's migration policy changes and hundreds of
thousands of people seek refuge on the Hungarian border,
according to Orbán. The new fence was then built with
prisoners as a labor force.
The Luxembourg Foreign Minister said in September that
Hungary should be excluded from the EU for its anti-migrant
policy that undermines EU values. Anyone who, like Hungary,
builds fences against war refugees or does violence to
freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary
should be excluded from the Union, it was called. The
Hungarian Foreign Minister responded that his country
defended Europe throughout history, and he described his
colleague from Luxembourg as condescending, malicious and
Shortly before Hungary was to hold a referendum on EU
refugee policy came harsh criticism from Amnesty
International, which accused the country of deliberately
treating refugees and migrants to deter them from entering
the EU. According to Amnesty, the Orbán government sought to
replace the rule of law with a state of fear.
Several migrants were sentenced to prison and deportation
during the year for having entered Hungary illegally. A
Syrian-Cypriot man was sentenced to ten years in prison for
terrorist acts by stone-throwing against police when he
wanted to cross the border from Serbia.
Ahead of the referendum in October, the government ran a
media campaign in which refugees were described negatively
and crimes committed by migrants in Europe were listed.
Orbán urged voters to reject the EU refugee quota, saying
there was a link between migration and terrorism. He
suggested that the EU should build refugee camps in Libya or
on a remote island, where migrants would be sent and from
where they could seek asylum in the EU.
The election results showed that just over 98% voted no
for the reception of refugees and for the EU's refugee
quotas, which for Hungary applied to 1,294 asylum seekers.
But the opposition's call for electoral boycotts had
apparently been heeded, the turnout did not reach 50%. Thus,
the result was not valid. Orbán still saw the election as a
victory for his politics and said he intended to change the
constitution so that the EU could not force its policy on
Hungary. The anti-alien party Jobbik urged Orbán to resign,
saying he weakened Hungary's position in Europe with a
referendum that failed.
The leading opposition newspaper Népszabadság was closed
in October. According to the owner Mediaworks, it was due to
poor finances, but the opposition believed that the Orbán
government was pushing or threatening its worst critics.
Thousands of people demonstrated in Budapest against Orbán
and for freedom of the press. Mediaworks was acquired by a
media group whose owner supported Orbán.
The government's attack on freedom of the press,
judiciary and constitution caused the human rights
organization Fidh to make harsh criticism of the EU for not
doing enough to protect democracy in Hungary.
In November, Parliament voted down the Government's
proposal to amend the Constitution. The proposal would have
meant that the EU could not force Hungary to accept foreign
nationals. Jobbik abstained when the party failed to hear
its demand for a ban on the right of well-off foreigners to
buy a residence permit.
Orbán hailed Donald Trump's victory in the US
presidential election as a happy news, and he supported
Trump primarily for his opposition to Muslim immigration.
During the year, Budapest Nobel Laureate in Literature
Imre Kertész, 86 years old, died. He was described as a
writer who made the Holocaust real and understandable. His
novel The Man Without Fate, which is about a
teenager in a death camp, received wide international
attention but was met by silence in Hungary.