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Hungary launches ‘Stop Brussels’ questionnaire campaign

Bence Tuzson, Hungarian Minister of State for Government Communication, holds a press conference on a national consultation, in Budapest on Saturday. (AFP)
BUDAPEST: Hungary launched Saturday an anti-EU campaign that asks households in a survey their advice on how to deal with Brussels policies that it says threaten Hungarians’ independence.
Questionnaires titled “Let’s stop Brussels!” are being posted to households nationwide, a senior government official, Bence Tuzson, told a press conference to launch the drive.
“Big decisions and struggles lie ahead of Hungary in the coming period, (Hungary) can only win those struggles if it feels the support of the country,” said Tuzson.
The six questions on the survey mostly ask citizens “what Hungary should do” about EU policies on immigration and economic issues like tax-raising powers.
One question for instance asks “what Hungary should do” as “despite a series of recent terror attacks in Europe... Brussels wants to force Hungary to let in illegal immigrants.”
The answer options are: “Illegal immigrants should be kept under supervision until the authorities decide in their cases“; and “We should allow illegal immigrants to move freely in Hungary.”
The survey, called a “National Consultation 2017” by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government, follows the coming into force last week of new rules allowing the indefinite detention of migrants in border container camps.
Other questions in the survey ask citizens about international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that the government says support illegal immigration or “interfere” in Hungary’s internal affairs.
In recent months the government has moved to clamp down on NGOs that it has called “political players” and “paid activists,” particularly those funded by Hungarian-born billionaire investor George Soros.
In 2015, it also launched a ‘National Consultation’ campaign, asking households about “immigration and terrorism.”
That survey was sharply criticized among others by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, which expressed “shock” at its questions and said it could boost xenophobia in the country.

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