New forms “National consultation” will land in the mailboxes of the Hungarians. The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has regularly used this process in recent years, using it in its fights in turn against immigration, the European Commission in Brussels or the influence in Hungary of the American billionaire George Soros . This time, the plebiscite targets the Roma and the detainees.
National ethics against international law
It was through the voice of Minister Gergely Gulyas, Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, that the announcement was made. These categories of people are singled out for the compensation they receive as compensation under international law. “If the sovereignty of the country is considered a value, we cannot accept that organizations with foreign funding arise, and often defend the rights of criminals”, he said, judging “Insane that the state pays billions of forints each year to convicts”.
Hungary is the EU country with the highest prison overcrowding, according to a report published in 2018 by the Council of Europe. It is not the only country to which the European Court of Human Rights demands accountability. France was thus condemned this year to pay € 500,000 to detainees for non-pecuniary damage. But Budapest, which condemns laws “Lax and absurd”, is reluctant to pay the 24 million euros requested, regardless of whether the prisoners live in 3 to 4 m2.
Concerning the Roma, the Hungarian Supreme Court decided in January to compensate € 300,000 for around sixty families living in a village in the north of the country, Gyongyospata, where Roma children were placed in a separate class between 2004 and 2017, without the possibility of going to the swimming pool, or of going on school trips, unlike the other comrades. This judgment of the Court is also in line with those of the European Court of Human Rights.
Far from accepting this judgment, Viktor Orban had estimated that “It can’t stay like that”, refusing that people “Receive such a sum without having earned it”. The NGO and Roma representatives have strongly disputed the intensification of their stigma in recent years. The main minority in the country, the Roma represent 7% of the 10 million inhabitants of Hungary.
Ten consultations in 10 years
The consultation campaign, accompanied by a public display, is expected to start in March. It will focus more broadly on “The restoration of public and moral order”. This is the tenth such consultation in Hungary since 2010, at an average cost of EUR 3 million per edition.
The wording of the questionnaire, in nine points, will be revealed next week. Viktor Orban wants to show that he has the opinion of the Hungarians for him. “The government has a clear opinion on these questions and knows what to do with them, but it needs societal support for this”, confirmed his collaborator, Gergely Gulyas.