Merkel: Hungary can't disobey EU on immigration policy

Given the recent history between Hungary, Germany and the European Union on matters of immigration policy and refugee resettlement, one can only imagine how well this is going to go over.

Angela Merkel is up for reelection this year so she’s making a point of bolstering her open border policies and her support for the EU. That’s apparently why she felt she had to weigh in on Hungary’s recent positions on the subject. Those positions are, basically, that the EU can commit cultural suicide if they want, but Hungary won’t be having any part of it. Still, Merkel clearly wants to turn this into a food fight. (Associated Press)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it’s unacceptable for Hungary to ignore a ruling by the European Union’s top court that it must accept refugees under an EU-wide plan. But she’s not specifying any consequences…

Merkel told Tuesday’s edition of the daily Berliner Zeitung: “That one government says it isn’t interested in a verdict by the European Court of Justice cannot be accepted.”

The reaction from the Prime Minister of Hungary was fairly predictable. Upon being told that he “can’t do something” that the EU wants, his response was… hold mah beer.

Hungary’s prime minister has said that while he “took note” of the European Court of Justice’s ruling last week, he’d continue to oppose the plans.

Merkel had to expect this. After all, we’re talking about Viktor Orban here. The last time the EU declared that he needed to stop blocking illegal immigrants from entering his country he responded by building a massive fence and sending the bill for it to Brussels.

This wasn’t some unique moment in Orban’s history on immigration policy either. After all, while most of the rest of the EU was struggling to go along with the open borders policy, high school children in Hungary were receiving mandatory military training including the use of hand grenades to prepare them for military service fighting off the invading hordes. Back in July, when the EU declared that Hungary needed to improve conditions in the camps where they were keeping the few migrants who did manage to get through, Orban responded by telling them that they weren’t obligated to provide migrants whose applications were denied or cancelled with certain supplies… such as food.

Orban probably doesn’t need to be overly worried because he primarily just has to ensure that he keeps the support of his own citizens. And his Fidesz Party is, by all accounts, still the most popular political movement in the country. (Business Insider)

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party is well-placed to win a third successive term in power in a spring 2018 election, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Janos Lazar said.

A survey by pollster Median published on Thursday showed Orban’s Fidesz, which won a landslide election victory in 2010, was backed by 36 percent of all voters, compared with 10 percent support for far-right Jobbik and 9 percent for the Socialists.

There’s only so much pressure that the EU can put on Orban. Thus far he’s been able to thumb his nose in the direction of Brussels on a regular basis, basically daring them to do something about it. And if they attempt to penalize Hungary overly, they’ll have yet another exit from the union on their hands. Hungary has been making noises in those directions for a couple of years now and in 2016 a non-binding referendum resulted in 98% of voters rejecting EU mandates on migrant resettlement quotas.

Merkel seems to be on track to win another term as Chancellor which will maintain the status quo in Germany for a while longer. But if she’s looking to pick a fight so she can flex her political muscle, Orban is clearly the wrong guy to tangle with.