Commission coordinates its response to Hungary’s disinformation campaign

EPA-EFE//SZILARD KOSZTICSAK

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at his annual State of the Nation speech in Budapest, February 10, 2019.

Commission coordinates its response to Hungary’s disinformation campaign


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In the wake of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban‘s unprecedented attack on the EU’s institutions and his ongoing “anti-European, anti-immigrant campaign of disinformation”, the European Commission has opted to respond to Orban with apoint-by-point rebuttal that will disprove the authoritarian Hungarian leader’s claims

The Hungarian government recently launched a highly coordinated campaign – complete with billboards, full-page newspaper advertisements, and a letter from Orban, himself, addressed to all Hungarians – where he warned the country’s citizens that “You too have the right to know what Brussels is planning!”

The inflammatory rhetoric from one of the EU’s most hostile and Eurosceptic leaders was meant to incite a deeply anti-EU sentiment in the Hungarian population ahead of the bloc’s May elections.

In response, the European Commission said it “Agrees. Citizens do deserve to know the truth about what the EU is doing. But we believe they deserve fact, not fiction”.

The EU executive went on to say, “The Hungarian government campaign distorts the truth and seeks to paint a dark picture of a secret plot to drive more migration to Europe. The truth is that there is no conspiracy. The claims made by the Hungarian government are at worst downright factually incorrect or at best highly misleading. And none of it has anything to do with George Soros. The Commission would, therefore, like to set the record straight, point by point.”

As part of Brussels’ effort to counter the message coming from Budapest, the Commission launched a communication campaign to respond to the anti-European Union propaganda of the Hungarian government. The Commission has decided to fight ” point by point ” against the eurosceptic campaign against Brussels, three months ahead of the European elections.

Orban, a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), had his supporter place posters with the faces of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Hungarian-born American philanthropist George Soros around Hungarian cities which blamed the two for falsely promoting illegal immigration into Europe.

Orban accused Juncker and Soros of wanting to force the EU countries to accept refugees and to weaken national borders.  Orban’s letter addressed to all Hungarians followed as a next part of the campaign. “Brussels has not learned anything from the horrendous terrorist attacks of recent years,” said Orban in his letter. He also accused the Commission of wanting to bring more migrants into Europe.

Unperturbed, Brussels has said that it would put an end to Orban’s disinformation campaign by countering his outlandish claims with hard facts. “We regret to have to do this, but we believe that the Hungarian people deserve the truth about what the Commission is doing,” said the Commission’s deputy spokesperson, Mina Andreeva.

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