The Umpteenth Campaign

On February 15, 2019, Spokesman István Hollik announced that the Orbán government would launch an “information action regarding the plans in Brussels to encourage immigration because we think that all Hungarian people have the right to know about those proposals that fundamentally threaten Hungary’s security” (sources A and B in Hungarian).

The Signs

(photo: Orange Files)

A few days later, signs showing unflattering images of Hungarian-American financier György/George Soros and European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker alongside the text “You Also Have the Right to Know What Brussels Is Preparing to Do!” (Önnek is joga van tudni, mire készül Brüsszel!) appeared in large number on the streets of Budapest.

The Letters

In late February, voters in Hungary received the following letter from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán providing more detail about “what Brussels is preparing to do”:

Esteemed Compatriots!

I am writing in order to inform You about the alarming developments in the immigration crisis.

Brussels has learned nothing from the dreadful terrorist attacks of the past years. It wants to bring even more immigrants to Europe. The bureaucrats are now preparing to stimulate immigration with new measures. Following the introduction of the migrant visa and the migrant bank card, they would give more money to György Soros’s immigration-supporting organizations. They continue to want to distribute immigrants in Europe through obligatory quotas.

We Hungarians decided that we do not want our homeland to became a country of immigration.

We want to protect our security and our Christian culture. This is why we built a fence and this is why we are defending our borders. However, the Brussels bureaucrats do not want to respect our decision. They want to break the resistance of the countries opposing immigration in the interest of reaching their objectives.

You also have the right to know what Brussels is preparing to do. This is why I am turning to you now: please read the enclosed information regarding Brussels’s planned steps.

Respectfully,

Viktor Orbán

Prime minister of Hungary

According the “enclosed information” attached to Prime Minister Orbán’s letter, the European Union—cited in the third-person plural—is preparing to take the following steps:

1. They want to introduce the mandatory resettlement quota.

2. They want to weaken the border-protection rights of member states.

3. They would facilitate immigration with a migrant visa.

4. They want to give even more money to organizations supporting migration.

5. They would also assist migration with a bank card with accessible funds.

6. They would launch experimental immigration projects with countries in Africa.

7. They want to reduce financial support for countries that oppose immigration.

 

                                                                      click to enlarge

The European Commission Response

On February 19, the EC published the following response to the Orbán government’s signs on Facebook in both English and Hungarian:

On February 25, the EC published a Hungarian-language communiqué entitled “Facts regarding European Union Migration Policy” (Tények az uniós migrációs politikáról) refuting each of the Orbán government’s claims in detail (source in Hungarian).

Conservative–Christian Democratic Condemnation  

Leaders of the Conservative–Christian democratic European People’s Party (EPP) European Parliament political group with which the FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) alliance is affiliated as well as leaders of other regional EPP member parties denounced the Orbán government’s “information action.” Among the EPP and EPP-affiliated national-party leaders who voiced such condemnation were the following:

European People’s Party Group Leader Manfred Weber (source in German);

European People’s Party President Joseph Daul (source in English);

Christian Democratic Union leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (source in German);

Christian Social Union leader Markus Söder (source in German);

Austrian People’s Party Chairman and Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz (source in German);

and Croatian Democratic Union President and Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković (source in English).

Initiative to Expel Fidesz-KDNP from the EPP

As of March 1, nine parties¹ affiliated with the European People’s Party from seven different states indicated that they were prepared to initiate the expulsion of Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People’s Party from the EPP, thus surpassing the minimum of seven parties from five different states required to force a member party to leave the European Parliament political group (source A in Hungarian and B in English).

On March 4, European People’s Party President Joseph Daul announced that EPP officials would consider the initiative to expel Fidesz-KDNP in response to the the Orbán government’s current anti–European Union propaganda campaign at the party’s political assembly in Brussels on March 20 (source in English).

Daul remarked during an interview published in the German newspaper Die Welt on March 5 that Prime Minister Orbán “had crossed the red line” with his government’s current anti-EU campaign (source in German).

European People’s Party Group Leader Manfred Weber stated during an interview published in the German tabloid Bild on March 5 that Prime Minister Orbán would have to satisfy the following three conditions in order to prevent the expulsion of Fidesz-KDNP from the EPP: immediately and permanently halt his government’s anti–European Union propaganda campaigns; apologize for these campaigns to Fidesz-KDNP’s fellow EPP member parties; and guarantee the continued existence of the Central European University in Budapest (source in English).

¹ The Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats of Sweden; the National Coalition Party of Finland; Christian Democratic Appeal of the Netherlands; the Christian Social People’s Party of Luxembourg; the Humanist Democratic Centre and the Christian Democratic and Flemish of Belgium; the Democratic and Social Centre-People’s Party of Portugal; and New Democracy of Greece.

Orbán Government Response

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán characterized those who have denounced his government’s current propaganda campaign as “useful idiots”² in an interview published in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on March 2 (source in English):

Orbán: [. . .] in the political scientific literature they are characterized, following Lenin, as useful idiots. While they believe they are fighting an intellectual battle, they serve the power interests of others, of our opponents.

Welt am Sonntag: Critical Christian democrats are useful idiots?

Orbán: Those who prefer a division of the EPP to its unity—yes. I have no sympathy for our Scandinavian EPP members, but I would never propose to expel them. I know that this would only be grist to the mill of the left [. . .]

Orbán stated during the interview that the government would replace the image of Jean-Claude Juncker on the signs with that of Frans Timmermans, the European Parliament Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats party-group candidate for president of the European Commission:

In the next phase our party campaign will begin and then you will find someone else on the posters: Mr. Timmermans. We will send Mr. Juncker into retirement and Mr. Timmermans will replace him on our posters.

On March 3, Minister of External Economy and Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó made the following statement during an interview on the pro-government television station HírTV (source in Hungarian):

We are a nation that possesses over 1,000 years of statehood and which cannot be played around with just like that. This visibly moves them [members of the European Commission] out of their comfort zone and they don’t understand how it can be that a [country such as] Hungary dares to say what the European Commission is preparing to do. And in Hungary they dare to say that György Soros arranged the notation for the migration policy that the European Commission is implementing.

² The term useful idiot is commonly attributed to Vladimir Lenin and refers to somebody who unwittingly promotes the interests of a political force with which they are not affiliated.

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Pre-Election Sampler from the Freesheets

Below are scanned images from the final two issues of the free daily newspaper Lokál and the final issue of the free weekly newspaper Lokál Extra published before the April 8 National Assembly election in Hungary.

The 12-page Lokál has a daily circulation of 150,000 copies and is distributed at public-transportation, railway and inter-city bus stations in Budapest. The 24-page Lokál Extra has a circulation of 1,160,000 copies and is delivered to homes and residential buildings in Budapest and 24 other cities in Hungary (source in Hungarian).

The newspapers operate under the ownership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s chief strategic adviser Árpád Habony and former legal adviser Tibor Győri.

The free newspapers derive a significant proportion of their revenue from publicly financed advertisements for the Orbán government or state-owned companies such as the Hungarian Electrical Works, Hungarian State Railways and lottery company Szerencsejáték.  

Both free newspapers overtly support the Orbán government and the FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) governing coalition.

Most of the articles published in Lokál and Lokál Extra just before the April 8 National Assembly election promoted the campaign strategy and platform of the Orbán government and the Fidesz-KDNP alliance, portraying Muslim migration as a grave security, cultural and religious threat to Hungary and depicting Prime Minister Orbán and the parties under his command as the political forces that are willing and able to defend the country from this menace and the opposition parties and their leaders as the pawns of Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist George/György Soros and the local proponents of his alleged pro-migration policies known collectively as the Soros Plan.

Appearing underneath the scanned images of pages from Lokál and Lokál Extra are translations of the main titles and some of the secondary titles from the given page as well as excerpts from the text of some of the attending articles.

Note that Gábor Vona, who is the subject of many of the articles appearing below, is the president of the opposition party Jobbik.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Lokál, April 6, page 1

 Viktor Orbán: “There is going to be a big battle this weekend. Nobody should stay at home.” 

This Sunday Two Times Fidesz

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Lokál, April 5 and April 6, page 2

 Orbán government campaign advertisement showing a stop sign superimposed on a dense column of migrants marching through the countryside somewhere along the Balkan migration route in 2015.

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Lokál, April 5, page 3

Soros’s Candidates SAID NO to the Fence

“They are lying. This summarizes the electoral machinations of the opposition. These political officials are eating from György Soros’s plate and can hardly wait to win on Sunday so they can open the way for migrants to come pouring into Hungary.”

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Lokál, April 6, page 7

 A Migrant Murdered a Women Who Wanted to Help Him

“A Somalian migrant stabbed to death a 22-year-old woman who was helping refugees at the reception camp in Mölndal in southern Sweden.”

Facts About Migration

“There are 186 no-go zones in Sweden, of which 55 are particularly dangerous. Migrants rape one in eight Swedish women. The number of sex crimes has risen 26 percent in Austria and 670 percent in Leipzig because of migrants. People of ‘foreign background’ commit one out of two crimes in Australia. Migrants commit 93 out of every 100 crimes in Germany. The number of crimes has risen 10.4 percent as a result of this. Migrants attacked 1,035 physicians in France last year alone. A total of 70 million people could leave Nigeria for Europe over the next five years.”

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Lokál, April 5, page 6

 A Migrant Murdered Two Women and Lived with Their Corpses for Months

Africans Committed Rape in Prague

An Immigrant Committed a Stabbing While Shouting Allahu Akbar

Orbán: the Fence Protects Budapest as Well

See entire post.

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Orbán Gov’t and Party Campaign Signs

Above are Orange Files photos of the two main 2018 election campaign signs (click to enlarge) of the Viktor Orbán–led government of Hungary and Fidesz political party. They currently appear in large number on billboards, advertising columns and bus-stop shelters throughout Budapest (and presumably all of Hungary).

The sign at left is that of the government of Hungary. It reads:

The UN wants us to continuously receive immigrants.

———HUNGARY DECIDES, NOT THE UN!

The sign at right is that of the Fidesz party. It shows Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist György/George Soros flanked by the four main opposition candidates for prime minister (from left to right: Bernadett Szél of Politics Can Be Different; Ferenc Gyurcsány of the Democratic Coalition; Gábor Vona of Jobbik; and Gergely Karácsony of the Hungarian Socialist Party and Dialogue for Hungary). It reads:

TOGETHER THEY WOULD DISMANTLE THE BORDER BARRIER

The Orbán government sign refers to the proposed “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” that the United Nations published in February 2018 (see document).

Minister of External Economy and Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó announced on March 1, 2018, that the Orbán government rejects the basic premise of the proposed UN compact, which according to Szijjártó is that “migration is a good thing and unstoppable” (source in English).

In his annual “State of the Nation” address on February 18, 2018, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in reference to the UN compact, specifically to the statement in it that “Migration has been part of the human experience throughout history, and we recognize that it can be a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development in our globalized world” (source in English):

This is obviously utter nonsense. It’s incomprehensible why they would think us to be such raving lunatics as to accept this and then implement it. We must bluntly state that Hungary is not a country of deranged people. We understand that George Soros’s organizations have not only installed themselves in Brussels and Budapest, but also in New York, at the UN. We understand that they are spending incalculable sums of money on pushing through acceptance for migration at a global level.

The Fidesz sign refers to the so-called “Soros Plan” pertaining to the 2015 European migration crisis (see National Consultation on the Soros Plan). According to a post regarding the sign published on the official Fidesz Facebook site (source in Hungarian):

For the opposition leaders, Soros’s will is the most important. They are prepared to implement the Soros Plan: they would dismantle the border barrier and settle immigrants [in Hungary]. Therefore, although they appear to be hopelessly feeble, they are nevertheless dangerous.

In fact, neither George Soros nor any of the four prime ministerial candidates shown on the sign, nor the five parties they represent advocate dismantling Hungary’s southern border barrier (source in Hungarian).

Both signs correspond to the single-theme campaign platform of the Orbán government and Fidesz for the April 8, 2018, general election. Prime Minister Orbán concisely described this platform during a March 1, 2018, television interview (source in Hungarian):

Hungary stands before two paths from which it can choose: either there will be a national government and then we won’t be a country of immigration; or György Soros’s people will form a government and then Hungary will become a country of immigration.

Update: two weeks before the general election, the Orbán government and Fidesz replaced the above campaign signs with those shown below. On the left is the government sign, which displays a stop sign superimposed on a dense column of migrants. On the right is the Fidesz sign, which displays the same five people as the party’s previous sign next to text reading “Let’s Stop Soros’s Candidates!

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Referendum Homestretch on Hungarian Television

Below are screenshots taken from programs broadcast on the M1 news channel of state-run Hungarian Television from 3:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on October 2, 2016—that is, until half an hour before the closing of polls in Hungary’s referendum on European Union migrant-resettlement quotas (see Hungary’s 2016 Referendum on European Union Migrant Resettlement Quotas and The Referendum That Couldn’t Fail).

Aside from intermittent weather bulletins and a report on the new leadership of the U.K. Labour Party, newscasts and programs broadcast on M1 during this three-and-a-half-hour period dealt with just two issues—the referendum results and migration.

The screenshots are from the various reports on migration. Note that in 2013, the National Assembly approved an amendment to Hungary’s electoral laws that eliminated campaign silence (source in Hungarian).

See entire post.

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Slaying the Gentle Giant

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Orange Files photograph of Baba that ripost.hu used without citing the source. 

On January 11, 2016, the on-line tabloid ripost.hu published an article entitled “Serial Criminal Ex-Convict at the Head of Soros’s Hungarian Migrant Organization!” (Börtönviselt, sokszoros bűnöző Soros magyar migráns­szervezetének élén!) regarding Baba, the most prominent volunteer for the Migration Aid non-governmental organization that provided food, clothing and other forms of assistance to tens of thousands of migrants as they passed through Hungary on their way to Germany in the summer and early autumn of 2015 (source in Hungarian).

The ripost.hu article claimed that Migration Aid, which started as a Facebook group in June 2015, was part of a “well developed Soros migrant-assistance network” that “following its establishment immediately received support from the Budapest Soros Foundation.”

The article used the following terms and phrases to describe Baba, an enormous man whom Western media such as The Guardian and the Associated Press dubbed the “Gentle Giant”: “refined criminal”; “serious criminal”; “dyed-in-the-wool swindler”; and “criminal well-known in the underworld.”

See entire post.

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The Röszke Telephones

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“Shocking images on abandoned telephones”: Hungarian Television shows its anonymous source (Orange Files screenshot).

On October 9, 2015, state-run Hungarian Television broadcast a report on images and videos allegedly found on telephones that migrants discarded after crossing into Hungary near the village of Röszke along the Hungarian-Serbian border earlier this year. Hungarian Television reported three days previously that it had received the telephones containing the images from an anonymous resident of Röszke who had “helped the authorities as a civilian volunteer in their work at the border” (source in Hungarian from 7:54).

The October 9 Hungarian Television report is typical of those that Hungary’s state-run media has broadcast regarding the Great Migration regularly over the past few months in order to support the Orbán government’s contention that migrants represent a grave immediate threat to the security of Hungary and all of Europe.

See entire post.

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Making Politics of Migration: the Civil Cooperation Forum Signs

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“A happy, festive crowd has arrived to Hungary”      (photo: Orange Files).

On October 5, 2015, the pro-government political organization Civil Cooperation Forum (Civil Összefogás Fórum, or CÖF) erected twelve signs at a park near the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest juxtaposing images of opposition political officials and aggressive or seemingly aggressive migrants (see CÖF website in Hungarian).

The signs also display migration-related quotes which the depicted democratic opposition officials have made over the past few months and which radical-nationalist Jobbik President Gábor Vona—who supports the Orbán government’s current migration policy—made during the previous parliamentary cycle.

See entire post.

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