Hungary to tighten laws on immigration

Parliament

The Hungarian government is planning to tighten laws on migration this week, and also to set up transit zones for holding refugees near Serbia, but the government would only deploy the army to help Hungarian Police forces at “last resort”, Reuters said Friday, citing Gergely Gulyás, an MP with the ruling Fidesz party.

Gulyás said at a press conference that a total of 13 laws would be impacted by the changes and that some of the laws require a two-thirds majority of votes in Parliament to pass. Fidesz is two votes shy of a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Gulyás called on opposition parties to back the governing party’s proposals. If accepted, the proposed changes would take effect in mid-September, he said.

“Europe is unable to take adequate steps amid the tide of migration,” Gulyás was quoted as saying. The lawmaker added that the policies of the European Union, encouraging the flow of “migrants” were “irresponsible”.

Commenting on recent rumors that the Hungarian government is planning to involve military forces to cope with the situation on the southern border, Gulyás said that the army would be used “only if and to the extent necessary and soldiers would not be armed with live weapons,” Reuters reported.

Transit zones the government is planning to establish near the Serbian border would hold refugees for a few days while their asylum requests are processed. “These zones will be open toward Serbia, but entry into Hungary will not be allowed until these procedures are finished,” Gulyás said. He added that Hungary considered the measure to be in line with relevant international laws.

Changes the Hungarian government is planning to pass also include stronger penalties for “illegal crossing” of borders and for damaging the wire fence being built on the Serbian border, originally set to be completed today.

“We believe these tools can be adequate for us to handle on a national level the extraordinary difficulties brought on by migration over the past months,” Gulyás said.

Citing data by Hungary’s Office Of Immigration and Nationality, Reuters reported that August saw some 38,912 asylum requests in Hungary, up from June’s 16,578. Police have stopped more than 140,000 migrants on the border with Serbia this year, Reuters added.

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