BUDAPEST, Hungary, July 5 (UPI) — Hungary has scheduled a referendum for Oct. 2 on whether to accept mandatory European Union quotas for relocating migrants, President Janos Ader announced Tuesday.
The announcement was made after all legal challenges to a referendum were exhausted.
The question on the ballot will read: “Do you want the European Union to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?”
Prime Minister Viktor Orban opposes immigration and said rejection of the question is “in favor of Hungary’s independence and rejecting the mandatory settlement plan.”
Orban has called the quotas “illegal and unreasonable” and said they “could redraw Europe’s cultural and religious identity.”
“We believe that only Hungarians, not Brussels, can decide who we want to live with in Hungary,” said Antal Rogan, head of the prime minister’s cabinet.
The referendum is valid only if turnout is at least 50 percent.
Left-wing opposition parties have called for a boycott. The opposition Together party said in a statement the referendum “is in fact Viktor Orban’s anti-European hate campaign, which is contrary to Hungary’s interests.”
Last year, almost 400,000 refugees and other migrants traveled through Hungary en route to other countries, including Germany. In October, Hungary put up razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel favors refugees being distributed among EU countries.
“It has been known for some time that Hungary will hold a referendum on a refugee-related issue, and now Budapest has only set the date for the referendum,” Merkel said in a news conference in Berlin.