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Government launches another billboard campaign on refugee issue

History

The Hungarian government has launched another billboard campaign to promote its referendum against the European Commission’s plan to require every EU country to take a quota of refugees. Government officials say the new billboards are meant to inform Hungarian citizens about the issue, while opposition critics say the messages are “propaganda”.

The design of the billboards posted on the official Facebook page of the Hungarian government.

The government has use such campaigns in the past, to voice its opposition to refugees. The newest billboards read: “Let’s send a message to Brussels, so that they can understand it as well”. On the top of the billboard the text says “Referendum 2016 against forced settlement”.

The Hungarian government has planned a referendum through which Hungarian citizens can voice their opposition to the ECʼs plan to require all European Union countries to resettle a certain quota of refugees.

The referendum question reads: “Do you want the European Union to prescribe the settlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary without the approval of the Hungarian Parliament?”

The referendum is due to take place in September or October. It is not clear what legal weight a national referendum might have on an EC regulation, but it could certainly be used by Hungaryʼs government to claim they have the support of their people in opposing the referendum.

Opposition parties have said the referendum is meant to build support for the government before the 2018 elections and amounts to “fear-mongering” against the refugees who have been coming to Europe in huge numbers since last year.

In a Facebook post, the Hungarian government said the aim of the new billboard campaign is to reach the highest turnout at the referendum possible. The Facebook post also says that the campaign is expected to run in television and radio, and an internet page will also be created dealing with the matter.

“It is unacceptable the European Commission is threatening a HUF 78 million fine per rejected refugee”, the Facebook post says, referring to a plan to fine EU Member states that do not take their quota of refugees. The Facebook post ends with the message: “Brussels needs to be stopped”.

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