Friday

13th Dec 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres

A trend has emerged over the past few months where desperate people are paying to get locked up in Libyan detention centres to escape the conflict and with the hope they stand a better chance of getting resettled to Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Slovenia, Croatia ex-leaders highlight jailed Catalans
  2. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  3. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  4. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  5. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  6. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality
  7. Czech PM: nuclear energy needed for climate neutrality
  8. Hungary: Climate target is burden, EU should help

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

Feature

Malmo, a segregated city - separating fact from fiction

Despite the neighbourhood's beautiful name, the reputation of Rosengård (Rose Garden) does not so much evoke images of roses as headlines of crime and social challenges. This area of Malmö has been struggling with its notorious, mythical, image for years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Huge win for Conservatives in UK election
  2. Behind bars: a visit to an imprisoned Catalan politician
  3. Leaders agree 2050 climate neutrality - without Poland
  4. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  5. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  6. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks
  7. Europe needs to make mind up on relations with Africa
  8. Leaders face crucial EU summit for climate action

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us