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National consultation on immigration

April 28th, 2015

The leading left-wing daily accuses the government of trying to restore its popularity by fomenting xenophobic hatred. A pro-government columnist calls for a two track approach: to help poor conflict torn countries while simultaneously closing Europe’s borders to halt immigration.

On Friday, the government launched its ‘nationwide consultation on immigration (see BudaPost February 17). A questionnaire is being sent to all adult Hungarians. Among other questions, the government asks Hungarians if they support the strengthening of immigration laws to protect the country from terrorism and protect Hungarian jobs. The government also wants to know if Hungarians would agree with putting illegal migrants in custody until they are expelled.

PM Orbán wants to restore his lost popularity through xenophobic demagoguery, Népszabadság writes in a front page editorial. The left-wing daily contends that in its questionaire the government is contemplating much harsher anti-immigration measures than any other administration in Europe. Népszabadság accuses the government of linking terrorism and immigration. The questionnaire is a clear indication that Orbán has lost any remaining shreds of humanitarianism, Népszabadság concludes.

In a Magyar Hírlap comment on the Mediterranean immigrant ship catastrophe Zsolt Bayer urges Europe to seal its external borders. The pro-government columnist believes that Europe should bolster anti-terrorist forces and offer humanitarian and development assistance to poor, conflict-torn countries. Without the prospect of a normal life in their homelands, desperate people will continue to flow into Europe, Bayer writes. Uncontrolled immigration, however, would “mean the end of Europe”, he continues. In order to preempt further catastrophes, he believes that Europe should hunt down human traffickers. In an aside, he notes that the current wave of immigration is the result of the total political chaos which emerged in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, following revolutions which were actively supported by the West, and most importantly, by US and Israeli secret services. “We have devastated these countries,” Bayer contends.

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