March 4, 2016 / 7:23 AM / 4 years ago

Hungarian vote will cover future EU-mandated migrant quotas, Orban says

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives to deliver his state-of-the-nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s planned referendum on European Union quotas for resettling migrants will cover a future EU proposal to establish a permanent mechanism, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Orban told state radio that an EU summit in the middle of March could decide on a permanent migrant resettlement mechanism, to potentially redistribute “millions of people” among EU members, which his government rejects.

Hungary has been at odds with the European Commission and some fellow EU countries over how to handle a large migrant influx into the bloc, and last week Orban proposed a referendum to see whether Hungarians accepted the quotas.

He also said on Friday that if needed, Hungary could close its border with Romania with a fence to keep out migrants within two to three weeks. Hungary already built fences on its Serbian and Croatian borders.

Reporting by Krisztina Than, editing by Larry King

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