Commission hits back at Hungarian government’s ‘fake news’ campaign

EPA / OLIVIER HOSLET

EU commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) welcomes George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations prior to a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 27 April 2017.

Commission hits back at Hungarian government’s ‘fake news’ campaign


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The European Commission reproached on Tuesday a media campaign launched by The day after Hungary’s stridently Eurosceptic government launched a previously unprecedented campaign attack against European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the EU struck with a public rebuke of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his attempt to spread rumours that Brussels is actively promoting illegal immigration into the European Union.

Orban and the Hungarian political establishment have undertaken a major advertising campaign that has included covering the country’s major cities with posters bearing Juncker’s and Soros’ images alongside messages which claim that the two want to settle mostly Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and Africa in Europe, an accusation that the EU has denied and labelled “fake news”.

Zoltan Kovacs, Orban’s spokesman, has repeated many of the campaign’s slogans, saying that the EU plans to adopt mandatory relocation quotas for immigrants and will weaken border protection rights of by granting new arrivals with a so-called “migrant visa”.

“Brussels continues to want to support illegal immigration, which is something the Hungarian people must know about.

“The plans aimed at supporting migration are still there in the ‘Brussels drawers’, and decisions are being made in the background that are aimed at realising these plans,” said Kovacs.

In response to the unsubstantiated attack, EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said, “It’s shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory has reached the mainstream to the extent it has, adding, “It’s not true that the EU undermines national border protection, quite the contrary. There are zero plans for so-called ‘humanitarian visas’. The Member States need to decide at what level they want to accept legal migration.”

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The Commission’s first vice president, Frans Timmermans, echoed the sentiment expressed by Schinas and added that the Hungarian government “seems to pretend that the EU is ‘something else’ as if Hungary is not a part of it.

The Commission later resorted to using a similar meme as the Hungarian government when it uploaded a picture of Orban and Juncker, both in English and Hungarian, with the same messages first conveyed by Schinas which pointed to te unity of the EU..

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