“The October referendum on the compulsory resettlement quota concerns the question of national sovereignty”, Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said in London on Monday.

At a meeting held at the Hungarian Embassy in London, Mr. Kovács, who was informing members of the British press and Hungarian journalists living in the UK capital about processes within the Hungarian economy, declared: the question to be answered at the referendum is “should others decide instead of us about an issue that we have never delegated to either European or other institutions”.

The Government Spokesperson stressed that the referendum on the compulsory resettlement quota will have consequences in both a political and legal sense. “The idea that Hungary’s Parliament could ignore the result of the referendum is ridiculous, and it would be similarly ridiculous for Brussels not to have to deal with the expression of the will of the Hungarian people”, he added.

Despite repeated allegations the referendum is in no way about Hungary’s membership of the European Union, Mr. Kovács stressed, but it is clear that it is about Europe, “about what kind of European Union we would like”. “The Hungarian Government would prefer a strong European Union that is realised via strong Member States”, he highlighted.

According to the Spokesperson, integration has natural limits and boundaries, and there are areas where we should not force integration processes that clearly do more harm than good.

The Visegrád Group and the countries along the Western Balkan migration route achieved success in slowing and sometimes almost halting illegal migration more rapidly and more effectively than “any grand and never realised European ideas”, he declared.

“One may apply many political arguments with relation to the referendum, but it is clear that it is a national issue. Everything that has happened last year, and especially concerning the violent acts that occurred on the country’s southern border, is not about a political approach, but about whether it is possible for one of the Member States of the European Union, and through it the whole of the EU, to be exposed to this kind of thing”, Mr. Kovács said.

The Government Spokesperson also spoke about the economy and highlighted that despite a lower than expected increase in GDP at the beginning of the year economic growth was still higher than the EU average, the unemployment rate is below 5 percent, the budget deficit is at a record low and government debt is continuing to fall.

With relation to the unemployment figures, Mr. Kovács highlighted the fact that in 2010 the ratio of people without jobs was 11.4 percent. “The Government’s target of creating one million new jobs, which ‘was laughed at and parodied by so many’ in 2010, is now within reach: there are currently 670 thousand more workplaces within the Hungarian economy than in 2010”, he stressed.

In reply to a question from Hungarian news agency MTI on whether the Government expects Hungary’s credit rating to be upgraded again based on the macroeconomic figures, Mr. Kovács said: “The Government isn’t in the business of speculation”. “All such credit rating decisions are of course important, but the markets have already made their choice, as indicated by the confidence in Hungarian government bonds and in the Hungarian state’s financing, and the reduction in premiums”, he added. With regard to the chances of a possible upgrade, the Government Spokesperson said: “One cannot argue with the markets for long; when the time comes, it will happen”.

In May, Fitch Ratings became the first of the large international credit rating agencies to return Hungary’s credit rating to investment grade with a stable outlook, and according to the expectations of London analysts Moody’s could follow suit before the end of the year.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)