Wednesday

27th Oct 2021

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.

Most lawmakers unhappy with lead MEP's asylum bill

Sweden's centre-right MEP Tomas Tobe is steering the core bill on migration and asylum through the European Parliament. But his draft proposal has been met with resistance from liberal left leaning MEPs, possibly creating another political deadlock.

News in Brief

  1. US to add last three EU states to visa-waiver list
  2. German ministry gives thumbs up to Russian pipeline
  3. EU regulator foresees endless battles with Facebook
  4. UK fears three migrants drowned in Channel
  5. Israel joins EU science scheme, despite Palestine clause
  6. Upcoming flu season 'could be severe', EU agency warns
  7. Ukraine wins Dutch case on Crimea gold
  8. Most Poles want Warsaw to back down in EU dispute

Analysis

Commissions's new migration pact still seeking 'landing zone'

Last October, the European Commission gave an optimistic outlook on the adoption of its migration and asylum pact. EU commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas said its pact on migration was lowering the landing gear - suggesting agreement was possible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Environment ministers continue dogfight on energy price hike
  2. Most lawmakers unhappy with lead MEP's asylum bill
  3. More transparency on EU media owners planned for 2022
  4. Europe's deadly border policies
  5. 'Brussels So White' needs action, not magical thinking
  6. How to break the political deadlock on migration
  7. Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action
  8. Belarus exiles in EU fear regime-linked murderers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us