According to index.hu, the government tries to entice people to take part in the quota referendum with six new billboards. Index analysed each of them, checked the truth behind the sentences and unfolded that many of those aren’t quite accurate.
All billboards have the question “Did you know?” at the top, then come the 6 statements, and the date of the referendum at the bottom.
Billboard1: Almost 1 million immigrants want to come to Europe just from Libya.
This statement probably refers to a UN warning from April. Paolo Serra, the military advisor of UN’s Libyan ambassador declared in the Italian parliament that there are 1 million potential immigrants in Libya. So the statement is true as a fact; however, it has more to it.
For one thing, this mass of people wouldn’t come along with the immigrant wave Europe faced until now, but mostly instead of it, as with the closure of the Balkan route, many people choose the Libyan-Italian death ships instead of the Turkish-Greek seaway. This is favoured by human trafficking, which is flourishing in the fallen-apart Libya, and the former tendency of North Africans trying to make their way through Turkey will end.
From another point, this number is actually the biggest number that has been said in relation to the topic. The French defensive minister talked about 800 thousand people on the 24th of March, EU’s foreign affairs representative, Federica Mogherini mentioned 450 thousand in her letter in March, in which she encouraged further steps.
The question is, how many will be able to enter Europe with the strengthened fleet presence of both EU and NATO at the Libyan coasts? Last year, 160 thousand people went to Italy taking this route, while only 1.3 million people asked for refugee status in the EU. People need to count with the 450 thousand – 1 million people,based on this information.
Billboard2: The Paris assassinations were committed by immigrants.
The background of the committing of Islamist assassinations in Europe is usually easy to define. Young people born in the EU of North African ancestry feel isolated in the skirts of the cities, don’t feel that the country, where their parents immigrated, is their own.
The social network nourishes them without them having to work, they swing from side to side or become criminals, come to hate Europe, become radical and then murder. Their parents are shocked to realise that their kid became a terrorist since they have a better life there than they would have in their homeland, they have built and existence, enterprise.
The excogitative and commander of the Paris assassination in the November of 2015, Abdelhamid Abaaoud was Belgian of Moroccan ancestry, his father immigrated to Belgium in 1975. He committed the terrorist attack with the people recruited by the Belgian born and Belgian citizen Salah Abdeslaam.
At the same time it is a fact that there were some among the assassins who were able to get back to Europe with the help of the immigrant crisis.
Billboard3: The number of harassment against women has been dynamically growing in Europe since the immigrant crisis.
Index.hu hasn’t found concrete statistical data about this but it is a fact that the molestation cases in the last couple of months staggered whole Europe. Two thousand people harassed women in Cologne at the main square at New Year’s Eve, and the same thing happened in Sweden at a festival. The news about the German swimming pool molestations went around the world as well.
The crowds of young men brought up in the Muslim culture, who arrive to Europe without parents, might feel like European women are offering themselves through their behaviour and clothing so the line is clear.
It will be Europe’s task to explain cultural differences to refugees and practice zero tolerance in cases like this while not running into suppression. Also, we should keep in mind that more than one million refugees came to Europe last year and cases should be analysed according to this.
Billboard4: More than 300 people died in terrorist attacks in Europe since the beginning of the immigrant crisis.
In November, 2015 128 people died in Paris, 34 in Brussels in the airport and metro bombings in March and 84 last week in Nice due to a running amok. These were the biggest attacks which overtook 246 people all together. If we interpret the definitions of a terrorist attack and the beginning of the immigration crisis in a more extended way, then we can also count the 17 victims of the Charlie Hebdo assassination, the shooting of one of the relatives of the perpetrators a few days later in a kosher shop, the case of the man from Lyon who beheaded his boss, the two victims of a stabber in Magnanville and the two victims of a shooting in Copenhagen. This still doesn’t add up to 300, only if we count the Islamic State assassinations in Turkey.
While even the life of one human is too much and it’s not worth talking about deaths numerically, the conflating of different things is not good either. Of course, you could look at it this way: if there were no Muslim immigrants in Europe then there wouldn’t be Islamist terrorism, but the way assassinations go is not like ‘one arrives now and will detonate next year’.
The invigoration of the Islamic state and the spread of radical ideas are more likely to affect second-generation Muslims, who were born in Europe but feel isolated. And hundreds of thousands of people are escaping to Europe from the chaos that was caused by the same blindfold thinking in their homeland, which shepherds European Muslims towards terrorism. This campaign conflates them with those ruining their lives.
Billboard5: Brussels wants to settle a city-worth illegal immigrants in Hungary.
People who imagine an immigrant herd worth a big city on the streets probably shiver from head to toe after reading this sentence. However, the sentence is tricky because if you look at it closely, you realise that it has no concrete facts.
There’s nothing about duration or how big city the government is referring to. Debrecen and Berettyóújfalu are both cities but there is a big difference between their population of 200 thousand or 15 thousand people. So the advertisement doesn’t refer to a concrete city.
This topic in the argumentation of the government actually came up last year. Antal Rogán talked about the European Commission and the way they define the settling quota in the parliament last November. He said that “it could force Hungary to settle 15 thousand people per year”. This is true, if we count with 1 million 200 thousand immigrants arriving in Europe in a year.
“Considering the family reunions, this could mean the settling of as much people as the population of Szeged in five years” said the minister. Szeged’s population is around 160 thousand, so the way the government counts is 15 thousand x 5 = 75 thousand plus 85 thousand family members.
Last December, the government’s website and a video advertised that “only 160 thousand people would be settled in Hungary by the obligatory quotas” but the Helsinki Commission re-counted and it turned out that the number affects the whole EU, namely, in a five years perspective. There would only be 1294 people settled in Hungary according to the decision made last autumn. This was what the Hungarian government attacked in the European Court of Justice.
There are no numbers and perspectives in the current campaign. So it’s hard to argue with the statement without facts. Moreover, EU commissary Tibor Navracsics said that the EU would only partition the legal refugees if they posed too much weight for a country, probably like Germany.
Billboard6: One and a half million illegal immigrants came to Europe last year.
It’s hard to tell officially the number of immigrants who arrived in Europe last year as different organisations have different data. According to BBC’s compilation, if we look at asylum-seekers then the number was 1,321,560 in 2015 by the data of Eurostat. This includes immigrants who asked for asylum in the non EU member Norway and Switzerland.
EU’s border defence agency, the Frontex registered a higher number: according to them, 1,800,000 immigrants came to Europe in 2015.
The difference can be caused by the fact that not all entrants ask for asylum, meaning that they’re in Europe illegally, but Index failed to find the real cause of the 480,000 difference.
So the government is not exaggerating with the one and half million number, it is correct in order of magnitude. By the way, the total population of the European Union is 500 million people.
Photos: www.kormany.hu, MTI
Copy editor: bm