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04/12/2016

Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants

Justice & Home Affairs

Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants

"If you come to Hungary, don't take the jobs of Hungarians!", the poster reads.

A Hungarian official indirectly admitted that the poster campaign ordered by the government last summer to discourage immigrants from coming into the country was aimed at generating hate towards them.

Anti-immigration posters put up by the Hungarian government have sparked political controversy since June, featuring slogans such as “If you come to Hungary, you cannot take away Hungarians’ jobs”, and “If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture!”

Strangely enough, the posters can hardly be understood by migrants, because they are written in Hungarian.

The posters – widely ridiculed on social media – were part of a larger anti-immigration campaign driven by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in response to a surge in asylum seekers. The campaign included a public questionnaire linking migration to terrorism and blaming EU policies for the influx of refugees.

>>Read: Hungary’s PM Orban calls EU refugee quota plan ‘mad’

But now a Hungarian official has admitted that the posters were in fact aimed at instigating hate against the migrants.

‘Desired effects’

Gergely Pr?hle, substitute state secretary of EU affairs in the Ministry of Human Resources, started by saying that the radical football hooligans did not become radical due to the country’s poster campaign. Then he added that Hungarian society displayed vast solidarity with the refugees, and if “the poster campaign did have the desired effects on our society this would not be so”.

Immigrants, mostly from Syria, were stranded in Hungary for a few days, many of them at the Keleti train station. Many complained about the way that they were treated and refused to take water when it was supplied by the authorities.

While immigrants were eventually taken on buses out of the Keleti station, towards Austria, TV footage showed a Hungarian woman raising a poster reading “We apologise”.