According to the Parliamentary and Strategic State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Venice Commission has changed its profile from advisory body on constitutional law to that of an “agency tasked with exerting political pressure” with its opinion on the special immigration tax, and clearly sided with those supporting immigration.

Balázs Orbán spoke to the Hungarian news agency MTI about this on Friday in response to the Venice Commission’s position concluding that the regulations relating to the Hungarian special migration tax which concerns non-governmental organisations must be revoked because they are in violation of the freedom of speech and association.

The State Secretary said the Commission has become an active actor in the struggle between those supporting and opposing immigration, has decided to side with the former, and is seeking to exert political pressure on member states which are opposed to immigration.

To this end, the Venice Commission has changed its profile from advisory body on constitutional law to that of an “agency tasked with exerting political pressure”, Mr Orbán said.

He added that in its Friday opinion the Commission did not provide legal analysis or insights; it made political claims.

They wrote, inter alia, that there is no connection between non-governmental organisations and migration. In their view, supporting migration may, in some respects, be in the best interests of the public, and they also claimed that member states have no right to levy a tax on activities facilitating migration.

By Mr Orbán’s account, the government’s position is that the activities of organisations facilitating migration have major fiscal implications because Hungary is using the taxpayers’ money for the protection of the country’s borders, and the activities of these organisations undermine our border guarding efforts. He added that if they were to accept the Venice Commission’s “grotesque legal logic”, it would not be possible to impose extra taxes on activities that pollute the environment or on the consumption of unhealthy foods because those, too, restrict fundamental rights.

Therefore, he added, it stands to reason to impose a special tax on these organisations.

Mr Orbán observed that taxation falls within the realm of national sovereignty. International organisations do not have a say in a sovereign state’s taxation policy.

The State Secretary made it clear that it was a priority for the majority of the commission to adopt this opinion, disregarding Hungary’s request, so that the European Commission can institute proceedings within the shortest possible time, and in order to exert pressure on Hungary to change its migration policy.

Mr Orbán indicated that, despite this, the government stands by its stringent migration policy, and will guarantee the Hungarian people’s security.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)