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Hungary’s image problem amidst the migration crisis

September 10th, 2015

A conservative lawyer accuses EU countries including Germany of demonising Hungary. A left-wing columnist fears that international criticism, even if exaggerated will severely harm Hungary’s image.

In Magyar Idők, EU law expert Attila Ádám accuses Germany, Austria and the UK of “waging an open propaganda war against Hungary” in order to “to generate conflict between Hungary and the migrants”. Citing EU migration directives, Ádám says Hungary acts fully in line with EU law. Under the EU Treaty, he argues, it is up to the member states to determine if and how many third country nationals they want to admit as economic migrants. He adds that EU law also requires member states to defend Schengen borders and fight human trafficking. Ádám then finds Germany and Austria guilty of violating EU law by allowing unregistered asylum seekers to proceed from Hungary. He interprets that attitude as an open call to migrants to violate relevant regulations and refuse to cooperate with Hungarian authorities. Quoting the Chaldean bishop Amel Shamon Nona, Ádám suggests that liberal migration policies would result in increased immigration of a Muslim population whose values are alien from the European principle of equal human dignity.

In Népszabadság, András Dési fears that Hungary’s image in the world has suffered a serious blow.  The left-wing columnist recalls that in the past 25 years, German politicians liked to praise Hungary for opening the borders to East German refugees in 1989. Dési believes that the 1989 border opening was a great contribution to Hungary’s image in the world. He admits that the Hungarian government is being demonised by the German press, but even if the criticism is somewhat exaggerated, Hungary’s image will suffer a lot. What matters is not what we think about ourselves or how many mistakes and injustices Germany is committing, but how we are being perceived in the world, Dési concludes.



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