Unprepared Hungarian government facing a refugee crisis

Yes, there is a refugee crisis in Hungary. No question about it. Thousands cross the Serbian-Hungarian border every day and the Hungarian government is totally unprepared. The number of refugees/migrants has grown, especially in the last few days, ever since the news arrived south of the border that the Hungarian government is planning to erect a 13-foot-high fence along the Serbian-Hungarian border. According to rumor, the Macedonian authorities are in fact facilitating the departure of the refugees still in their country to make sure that they reach the Schengen border before the fence is built. Some of these people must be truly desperate. An Afghan woman just today gave birth in Szeged, which means that she must have left Kabul seven or perhaps even eight months pregnant.

According to Gábor Gyulai, who is responsible for the refugee program of the Hungarian Helsinki Commission, by 2012 it became clear that the migration routes were shifting and that, as a result, more refugees would arrive in Hungary in the near future. The Hungarian government, however, did nothing in anticipation of such a development. Not enough money was spent to develop a functioning, efficient system. Instead of spending billions on a national consultation, anti-immigration billboards, and fences, the government should have expanded the facilities that house temporary and permanent migrants. And they should have beefed up the Office of Immigration and Citizenship, which simply doesn’t have the manpower to handle the number of cases before them.

But if the Hungarian government is that ill-prepared, why don’t relief organizations step in to help? I’m afraid I can’t find a reasonable explanation for their lack of involvement. Their most common excuse is that “the government didn’t ask for help.” In the case, however, of the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service/Magyar Máltai Szeretetszolgálat, a Catholic organization, I detected a reluctance to get involved. This was the organization that played a large part in the 1989 escape of East Germany refugees across the Austro-Hungarian border on their way to West Germany. Father Imre Kozma, the head of the organization, outright forbade the employees of the service to say anything to the media about the new refugees “as long as such a hysterical atmosphere exists in the country.” I have a strong suspicion that Father Kozma’s charity is somewhat biased toward Christians. He is not alone, I fear. Robert Fico, who shares Viktor Orbán’s anti-immigration attitudes, reluctantly said on the Slovak public television after his return from Brussels that “Slovakia is ready to take in a few Christian families.” How generous.

Then there is the Ecumenical Assistance Service/Ökumenikus Segélyszervezet, which is the favorite charity of Anikó Lévai, Orbán’s wife. She can occasionally be seen collecting toys for children or helping with food distribution. Their answer was that “they could consider involvement only if the government specifically asked them to participate.” Otherwise, the spokesman for the organization simply repeated the wisdom of Viktor Orbán: they believe in “solving the problems in the countries of origin.” But when asked whether the Ecumenical Assistance Service is involved in such work in Syria or Libya where most of the refugees are coming from, the answer was “no.” Earlier they had a program in Iraq, where the organization’s primary mission was assistance to the Christian minority.

Not only did the government do practically nothing to prepare for such a large number of refugees, it has done everything in its power since February to incite the population against the asylum seekers. And their hate campaign has borne fruit. Polls indicate that Hungarian xenophobia has grown measurably and that the antagonism of the majority of the population toward the refugees has greatly increased. In Debrecen, where there is a refugee camp, about 200 people, including some local Fidesz politicians, demonstrated “to show their solidarity with the people who live in the neighborhood.” But even MTI had to admit that neither in 2014 nor in 2015 was there even one reported complaint about the refugee camp.

Anti-refugee demonstration in Debrecen / MTI / Photo solt Czeglédy

Anti-refugee demonstration in Debrecen / MTI / Photo Zsolt Czeglédy

Fidesz politicians exacerbate the population’s fear by stressing the large numbers of permanent refugees that Hungary is expected to absorb. Lajos Kósa, who is unbeatable when it comes to verbal extravagance, talked about 200,000 newcomers to Hungary, a country that, as we know from Viktor Orbán, should remain purely Hungarian. As a result, fear and tension has been growing on both sides.

The government is doing nothing to diffuse this tension. In fact, the anti-refugee propaganda is growing. While the relief organizations are reluctant to volunteer, neo-Nazi football hooligans are eager to assist police efforts at rounding up refugees along the Serbian border. It’s no wonder that Magyar Narancs suggested that “now that they managed to send even the neo-Nazis to the front line, it is time to stop and take a deep breath.” Such a turnabout would mean a loss of face for the belligerent Hungarian prime minister, but it is possible that he will be forced by circumstances to follow Magyar Narancs‘s advice.

Political analysts suspect that, although in the short run Viktor Orbán’s strategy might work, if the Hungarian government’s efforts to stop the refugees at the borders fail, trust in Orbán’s solutions might evaporate and with it the newly regained political support. The “beneficial effect” of the anti-immigration propaganda on Fidesz’s popularity might come to an end in two or three months unless the government’s efforts are successful. And people familiar with refugee issues very much doubt that Orbán’s “solution” can be a winning ticket for achieving long-term popularity.

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petofi
Guest

A new definition for Hungary:

“A place where paranoia can never catch up to the awful reality…”

Minusio
Guest

Two points:

As far as I know, only a tiny part of the immigrants ever considered staying in Hungary.

The Dublin accords need speedy redoing, and a fixed quota of refugies and asylum seekers has to made mandatory for every EU member state. This voluntary solution is a joke. The EU has 450 million inhabitants. It should be able to absorb more than the 40,000 envisaged. In most countries (Hungary included) the population shrinks. The people who make it here are not the worst educated and are motivated to work. We have to give them fair treatment and a chance.

Guest
I recently returned to Hungary from a holiday abroad, and driving along the motorway noticed for myself one of the anti-immigrant billboards. My first question was, if this is supposed to be read by foreigners, how come it’s written in Hungarian? I can only conclude that it is not actually meant for foreigners, but for the Hungarian populace, in order to generate governmental, institutionalised xenophobia. It created no such feeling in me as my heart sank, feeling I have entered a scary dictatorship which advertises, quite proudly, its hatred of non-Hungarians, as if that is somethig to boast about. A dictatorship where people are told what they should feel and think about all issues, and where any opposition or criticsm of such mind-invasion is met with loss of job, or threat of lives. That Orbán is now instructing his Fidesz representatives in Brussels too, to be outraged about any criticism of his tactics is further indication of a paranoid and damaged individual who is using all of Hungary as a platform for unresolved issues with his brutal dictatorial father – “Love me, and I make you rich and fill your pockets, criticise me and I destroy you” is his personal… Read more »
parndorfer
Guest

The utility companies cut off electricity and natural gas at the MSZP (Socialist) party HQ.

MSZP is finished although since it has other pieces of real estate and some assets it will live on as a zombie (just like Munkáspárt lead by the IMO-graduate Gyula Thürmer is still a political entity).

http://444.hu/2015/06/29/kikotottek-a-villanyt-es-a-gazt-az-mszp-szekhazaban/

Jonas
Guest

The Orban administration is of course totally incompetent of solving any real, social issues, but it doesn’t want to act either: the bigger the chaos, the better politically.

Do1978
Guest

The Orbans are paid to fail, to be incompetent.
The bigger the chaos, the more can be stolen.

tappanch
Guest

The biggest recent exporter of African (mainly) men to Israel (57%) and Europe (Italy 21%) is Eritrea.

I read that the main reason Eritreans flee their country is mandatory “közmunka” (fostered labor) of indefinite duration…

tappanch
Guest

“Since May 2002, the government of Eritrea has officially recognized the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Sunni Islam, Catholicism, and the Evangelical Lutheran church. All other faiths and denominations are required to undergo a registration process.”

THis also sounds familiar to Orban-watchers, doesn’t it?

By the way, Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Dictator” mixes several dictators (including Khadafi), but the map in the movie shows Eritrea.

gardonista
Guest

Completely off topic: I’m just learning that the Confederate flag and uniforms approved in 1861 were based closely on the Hapsburg Empire. This was a time right after 1848 and before the Compromise of 1867, so this was a period that was strongly anti-Hungarian.

Is it too much to say that the Confederate flag has strong anti-Hungarian overtones?

See this:
http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-austrian-style-of-confederacy.html

Guest

Re: ‘Is it too much to say that the Confederate flag has strong anti-Hungarian overtones?’

Perhaps some flags have their day when there is deep contemplation on history as it meets the with the present in forming new attitudes? Hungary’s flag could be a case in point. Can we say she is working as hard as she can for ‘liberte, equalite and fraternite’ since those were the ideals incorporated into its symbolic representation?

tappanch
Guest

Breaking news: Interior minister Pi. has submitted a bill to make the asylum seekers fostered workers.

http://www.parlament.hu/irom40/05416/05416.pdf
http://vs.hu/kozelet/osszes/kozmunkast-csinalna-a-kormany-a-menedekkerokbol-0629#!s0

Minusio
Guest

“make the asylum seekers fostered workers”: I am sure this is against several conventions Hungary has signed.

tappanch
Guest

The bill (12. §) actually says that the asylum seeker is “entitled” to work as a fostered worker. In this case, s/he is obliged to pay for her/his “upkeep”.

I don’t think too many asylum seekers would voluntarily desire to work for 200 euros a month MINUS their upkeep.

Webber
Guest

So, the Interior Min has just violated one of the messages from the government’s poster campaign – You can’t take jobs from Hungarians – because in this case refugees certainly will be taking work from native Hungarian “fostered” (actually, forced) workers, as there’s not enough of that sort of work for all who need it (need it, because otherwise they get no support).

spectator
Guest

Should they build the very fence too?

Better watch up then, on which side to stand while working…

What still missing is the possibility that the newly rich landowners right after the Sunday mass they could go to the marketplace and bid for the stronger, more capable worker…
Maybe next time it will proposed too…

tappanch
Guest

Commotion/rebellion in the camp of the asylum seekers in Debrecen. The immigrants threw stones, burnt garbage cans and closed a road for a while.

http://www.szon.hu/komoly-incidens-a-debreceni-menekulttabornal-a-foutat-is-lezartak/2865777

tappanch
Guest

comment image?w=600&h

[“https://youtu.be/aVbPpOJhX0I”]

I put the video in brackets, because the Hungarians shooting it use very nasty language against the rioting asylum seekers.

Istvan
Guest

One of the comments on the video sort of said it all. The commenter claimed the rioting asylum seekers were being sent to destroy the white race by the Jews

spectator
Guest

It must have happened totally spontaneously, isn’t it, just like the riots in 2006. Otherwise, as we know everything else is purely coincidence. Just like the 200 something people from Kosovo getting “restrained from entering” Austria at the very time, of the German chancellor’s visit.
Just like those restless migrants seeking conflict right when the parliament vill redefine “asylum seekers”, “refugees” and Good only knows what more.

Coincidence, what else?

tappanch
Guest

The Hungarian government has paid 196 billion forints ($0.7 billion) to General Electric for the Budapest Bank.

http://index.hu/gazdasag/2015/06/29/200_milliardert_vette_meg_az_allam_a_budapest_bankot/

tappanch
Guest

Red herring:

New bill to support Hungary’s 2024 bid to host the summer Olympic games.

(i)
“The majority of the profit from the Olympics should be spent on health care”

(Olympics profitable to the host country, see Greece…)

http://www.parlament.hu/irom40/05422/05422.pdf

spectator
Guest

As a matter of fact I miss the classic text from the billboards (but then again, who could have know of the involved?), like this:

“Ye who enter, abandon all hope.”
-NATIONAL Inferno, Hungary-

Ron
Guest

And what about : “Arbeit Macht Frei”, especially regarding the comment at 11.22am of Tappach.

Ron
Guest

The fence also reminded me of the argument on the rock opera, Istvan, a kiraly (Stephen, the King). At that time we did not understand the fence, and locked doors. Apparently, Robert Alfoldi knew something.

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2013/08/23/stephen-the-king-30-years-later/

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