Billboards warning migrants to obey Hungarian laws, and not take Hungarian jobs have been going up around the country as part of a government initiative.
Condemned by the opposition parties, which conducted a poll that recorded 98% opposition to the campaign, it has also been criticised by the UN, and from July 1 the UNHCR will be conducting a poster campaign of its own.
“What is unusual in Hungary is that in many countries when there is xenophobia, it’s raised by marginal parties, it’s raised by right wing parties, it’s raised by some fringe groups. What is unusual in Hungary is to see the government trying to whip up xenophobia. But what is really encouraging is to see the public reacting against it and wanting to support refugees,” said the UNHCR’s Central Europe representative Kitty McKinsey.
Critics say most migrants present no problems, and say the government is practicing classic deflection from its own shortcomings and economic failures. Average monthly salaries here are just a few hundred euros.
“We have experienced over 50,000 people entering the Hungarian, therefore the European, borders illegally. We understand the UN’s approach to migration and it is possible to present a couple of successful stories. In these numbers, among these circumstances, it is a completely different story,” said government spokesman Zoltán Kovács.
The latest influx to Hungary has brought many from the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan, who are integrating, but also bringing some new things with them for the locals to discover.
However, Hungary is not the first country to try and poster migrants into leaving, or use advertising to influence public opinion. Several European countries have fallen foul of public outcries over their methods. Here are a few of them.
Get a different perspective
Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.