Thursday

26th Nov 2020

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch far-right leader resigns over antisemitism
  2. Germany to relax corona rules for Christmas
  3. New US leader against hard border in Ireland
  4. EU ties Afghanistan aid money to democracy
  5. EU drug regulator optimistic on vaccine prospects
  6. EU study warns of impact of non-CO2 aircraft emissions
  7. Cross-country MPs urge EU to protect Poles' rights
  8. MEPs adopt group-action consumer rights redress

EU demands answers on Croat border attacks against migrants

EU commissioner Ylva Johansson wants to send her officials to Croatia sometime this month to make sure authorities there are complying with fundamental rights following numerous allegations of violence against migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross into the country.

EU watchdog launches probe on Croat border violence

The European Ombudsman is launching a case into the lack of proper oversight by the European Commission when it comes to how fundamental rights of migrants and refugees are allegedly being violated by Croat border police.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. Watchdog slams Commission on BlackRock 'green rules' deal
  2. EU reaches out to nationals of migrant origin
  3. German minister predicts rule-of-law solution in 'days'
  4. EU red-flags Israel's Givat Hamatos settlement
  5. US economic nationalism will be subtler - but it will persist
  6. Georgia's 'rigged' elections? Takeaways for the EU
  7. There is 'no Russia-Turkey alliance'
  8. EU air quality improves, but pollution levels still high

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us