Anti-immigration and anti-globalisation movements are gaining ground in Hungary – especially ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
To investigate, euronews attended national Republic Day events around Hungary.
Rékasi Zsigmond Károly, a human rights activist, told euronews: “We are protesting because of the corruption in our country, because of the development of the police state, because of the demolishing of our civil rights. We are losing our freedoms step by step.”
Defending Hungarian identity against foreign “invasion” is also one of the government’s main lines.
George Soros, a Hungarian-born billionaire financier, is also the main target of Viktor Orbán’s new law that stipulates that NGOs that receive more than €24,000 a year in foreign funds must identify themselves and register as “organisations supported from abroad”. The law is the object of an infringement procedure by the European Commission.
Áron Lukács, spokesperson for the Aurora Foundation, told euronews: “Here [in the centre] we have the Jews, the Gypsies, the homosexuals, the drug addicts. Most of these NGOs are in the targets of the propaganda machine and the government.”
As regards immigration, euronews headed to the border with Serbia. In the small village of Ásotthalom, locals are resentful of George Soros’ pro-immigration stance. The mayor, László Toroczkai, produced a controversial YouTube video in 2015 in a bid to curb migration. It has nearly two million views.
Toroczkai, who is also vice-president of far-right Jobbik – the largest rival to the ruling Fidesz party, has also set up his own border militia and claims a handful of civilians have captured more illegal immigrants than the state police.
“Many people arrived here from Pakistan, from Bangladesh, or for example, from Morocco or Kosovo. And there are no wars there, they are not refugees. But they attack this border fence every week,” Toroczkai said.
Meanwhile, euronews travelled to the place where the fence ends, at the junction between Serbia, Romania and Hungary, just a few miles away from the village of Kübekháza.
“Our little village” is the slogan that welcomes visitors to the quiet town, sown with flowers and European flags. The villagers live in harmony with their Serbian and Romanian neighbours, and are worried that things could change
Róbert Molnár, Kübekháza’s mayor, said he opposes the border fence and is outraged by Prime Minister Orbán’s closed border policy and anti-EU stance.
“Authoritarian, autocratic regimes always need a big enemy figure to fight against, to wage war against, but the only purpose is to distract attention from the nation’s real problems,” he said.