Wednesday

26th Jul 2017

Hungary launches anti-migrant quota campaign

  • 'The government says no to the mandatory resettlement plan', the advert says

Hungary’s government has launched a media campaign against the EU’s quota plan to distribute asylum seekers across the continent, with a rights group criticizing the adverts for spreading false information.

Full-page adverts appeared in newspapers this week, and a television ad has began to run attacking the EU’s quota plan, against which Hungary filed a case at the European Court of Justice on Thursday.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The full-page messages claim: “The quota increases the terror threat!”. Other campaign messages include: “An illegal immigrant arrives in Europe on average every 12 seconds”.

A government website campaigning against the quota plan says Hungary, with a population of 10 million, would be forced, without consultation, to take in as many as 160,000 people, roughly the population of its third largest town, Szeged.

However, under the current plan Hungary is only slated to take in 1,294 people from the total of 160,000 to be relocated from Italy and Greece.

That figure might slightly increase to around 2,000, as member states agree on how to distribute 54,000 asylum seekers that were originally processed by Hungary, but Budapest turned down the offer because it opposed the principle of relocations.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a leading human rights NGO, said in a statement on Thursday (3 December) that "the Hungarian government is treating its citizens like idiots" by telling them it expects 160,000 migrants to come to the country. It accused the government of stoking fear to diver attention from its own controversial issues.

A Hungarian government official denied the advertisements would be misleading, claiming the 160,000 figure in the campaign does not refer to the already agreed relocation figure, but what might be Hungary’s share with the same level of migrants flows and in case of a permanent relocation scheme planned by the European Commission.

“They wouldn’t be arriving from tomorrow on, but we have seen creeping legislation happening in the EU before, and there is a real danger it will happen again with the permanent relocation plan,” government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs told EUobserver Friday (4 December).

The new ads fit into an almost year-long campaign by the government on migration and terrorism.

It launched a petition against the quota in early November that it says has been signed by over 900,000 people by the end of the month.

Hungary has also conducted a public consultation earlier this year that asked Hungarians to answer 12 questions on whether “the mismanagement of the immigration question by Brussels may have something to do with increased terrorism”.

The questionnaire was criticized by liberal MEPs in April for being manipulative.

The government, which has also run an anti-immigration billboard campaign before, has claimed that 85-90 percent of the people who took part in the survey opposed the relocation quota plan.

Along with far-right Jobbik, the opposition Socialists, the parliament’s second largest group, also reject the quota plan.

According to official data, 391,000 migrants have crossed via Hungary to western Europe in nine months, before Hungary shut its borders with southern neighbours Serbia and Croatia.

Hungary to hold referendum on EU migration plan

Hungary's government has initiated a referendum on the EU's migrants quota plan, PM Viktor Orban said Wednesday. Hungary, along with Slovakia, has already challenged the plan at the EU's top court.

Stakes grow in Hungary's migration referendum

Orban's referendum on migration in October is designed to alter EU policy and boost his popularity. But in the post-Brexit climate it could mark a bigger anti-EU swerve.

Italy's 'nuclear option' on migrants unravels

Media has reported that Italy may issue visas to migrants to allow them to travel further north. But the plan is unlikely to work due to EU rules underpinning such decisions.

Austria readies for migrant border surge

Foreign ministers in Brussels agreed to toughen up measures against Libyan migrant smugglers amid Austrian claims it is ready to "protect" its borders from any sudden mass migrant movements from Italy.

EU backs Italy on NGO rescues

The European Commission has said that the EU and Italy merely want to “better organise” migrant rescues in the Central Mediterranean.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Latest News

  1. EU and Turkey fail to defuse tensions
  2. European law will apply 'for years' in the UK, says EU judge
  3. US votes to sanction EU firms in Russia project
  4. Journalists on trial highlight Turkey crackdown
  5. EU to give research tips on dual food quality
  6. Polish president's veto leaves uncertainties over next move
  7. EU Commission unmoved by Polish president's veto
  8. UK presses the Brexit pause button