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Government campaign against compulsory quotas

May 18th, 2016

As the first posters appear in a government campaign to mobilise voters ahead of the referendum on EU plans to relocate migrants among member states, commentators disagree on the possible impact of the campaign and the referendum itself.

In Népszava, Zoltán Simon argues that the referendum will not change anything, as the Hungarian Parliament opposes the relocation of migrants anyway. He finds the words on the posters  (‘Let’s send a message to Brussels that they will understand’) misleading, for the real addressee is the Hungarian voter and what is actually at stake is the outcome of the next elections in 2018, he suggests. If the anti-relocation campaign and the referendum does not prove profitable, he predicts, Fidesz will find a new lead theme.

In Népszabadság, Zoltán Lakner thinks the government has set a trap for the opposition. The migration crisis is one of the most burning issues in Europe and to campaign for compulsory relocation would be self-defeating. It would also transform the referendum into a vote for or against the European Union which might threaten Hungary’s EU membership in the long run.  Nevertheless, he does not explicitly call on the Left to boycott the referendum.

In Magyar Hírlap, economist Károly Lóránt fulminates against the exorbitant fine the European Commission plans to impose on countries that reject the idea of compulsory relocation quotas. He claims that most of the European public opposes Brussels’ immigration policies and warns Europe’s leaders that the peoples of the continent will not tolerate what he calls  ‘the dictatorship of the cultural left and the capitalist right’.


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