Hungarian Parliament toughens laws on border crossing

Party Popularity

In a parliamentary session begun this morning, MPs voted on a package of laws early this afternoon that would include stronger penalties for “illegal crossings” of the Hungarian border, with 140 voting in favor and 33 voting against, news portal index.hu reported today.

Refugees traveling by foot near the Hungarian border. (Photo: MTI)

An extraordinary Parliamentary session is planned to vote on legislation detailing the role of the army and police in safeguarding Hungaryʼs borders in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.

The amendments passed in Parliament today includes revisions to the Penal Code that will treat “illegal” border crossings, the damage, or the obstruction of the construction of the border fence punishable as a separate crime. The law will also expedite the asylum procedure of refugees and make it more efficient, broaden the defense of the country’s borders, establish provisions for setting up transit zones on the countryʼs borders, and tighten penalties leveled at people smugglers.

The far-right Jobbik party MPs voted in support of the measures while MSZP, green party LMP and independent representatives voted against it. After losing their two-thirds majority in February of this year, the ruling Fidesz party now requires the support of other parties, or two-thirds of the vote, in order to pass or amend laws. 

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