On Friday Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács told Hungarian television channel M1 in its morning show that the Government and the majority of people do not want mandatory resettlement quotas in Hungary.

Mr. Kovács pointed out that if the referendum on this is held in September or October, it will provide the Government and the Prime Minster with the opportunity to express the opinion and incontrovertible will of one Member State – and hopefully a number of other Member States – on the issue.

When asked whether rejection of the mandatory resettlement quotas in a referendum would amount to a rejection of the EU as a whole, Mr. Kovács called this assumption “silly”. He recalled that this allegation has been made about Hungary on a number of occasions in the past couple of years, when objections were raised relating to the system or approach of the EU. “Having different opinions does not necessarily mean that we are against something”, Mr. Kovács said. He added that it is in the interests of all for a well-functioning, effective and strong European Union to be able to respond to the challenges it is facing in the current migration crisis, and also in economic, social and demographic issues.

Mr. Kovács was asked about a proposal for a ban on certain tobacco products, and for plain packaging for cigarettes. He said that acting against smoking and tobacco products can result in substantial indirect “benefits” of billions of forints in the medium term, relating to both healthcare expenses and the health of the population.