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Hungary launches anti-EU survey polling citizens about migration, LGBTQ+ issues and aid to Ukraine

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Copyright Virginia Mayo/AP
Copyright Virginia Mayo/AP
By Euronews, AP
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Viktor Orbán’s government issued a new "national consultation" asking voters for their thoughts on deeply divisive issues like migration, LGBTQ+ rights and support for Ukraine—with many of the questions being clearly veered against the EU.

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Hungary’s right-wing populist government issued an informal survey to its citizens asking for their opinions over a number of divisive issues widely seen as anti-EU, including migration, LGBTQ+ rights and support for Ukraine.

Among a total of 11 questions, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government is asking Hungarian voters whether they’d back a proposal to block the EU’s four-year, €50 billion aid package to Kyiv unless the bloc releases billions in frozen funds to Hungary.

The EU previously blocked these funds over concerns that Orbán was failing to uphold rule-of-law and human rights standards in Hungary. The Hungarian prime minister has in turn accused the EU of trying to force policies on the country.

Hungary has refused to supply Kyiv with weapons since the beginning of Russia's invasion and has opposed EU sanctions against Moscow. The country has also opposed Ukraine’s ambitions to join the EU.

“They are asking Hungary for additional support (for Ukraine) even as our country has not received the EU funds due to it,” says one part of the survey, which the Hungarian government called a “national consultation.”

One of the possible answers suggests: “We should not pay more to support Ukraine until we have received the money we are owed.”

It’s not the first time that Orbán’s government has launched a similar poll to the country’s citizens since he took power in 2010. The surveys have been previously criticised as manipulative propaganda tools which encourage voters to pick the government’s preferred answers - which often take a combative stance against the EU.

One question included in the latest poll says the EU “wants to create migrant ghettos in Hungary” and asks whether respondents think Hungary should “accept Brussels’ migration plans,” or prevent the creation of migrant ghettos.

Another accuses the EU of wanting to spread “aggressive LGBTQ propaganda” targeting children.

Every Hungarian of voting age will receive the questions by mail. Their answer will have no legal relevance, and usually less than 20% of recipients respond. But about 99% of responses are usually in agreement with the government’s line.

There’s a deadline of 10 January 2024 to return the survey.

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