Hungary’s ‘zero refugee’ strategy

BUDAPEST — The poster in a Budapest street carries a startling message.

“Did you know that the average Hungarian sees more UFOs than refugees in a lifetime?”

It’s part of a satirical campaign with a serious purpose: To oppose the government’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies ahead of a controversial referendum on migrants.

The Two-Tailed Dog Party, a grassroots activist group that often wields humor as a political weapon, issued a call to the public for donations in order to create the campaign. More than 4,000 Hungarians responded with their wallets, donating about 100,000 euros to finance the satirical posters. It’s an unusual display of dissidence. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party generally doesn’t meet much domestic resistance to its harsh rhetoric and policies on immigrants and refugees.

On October 2, Hungarians will be asked one question — “Do you want the European Union to be entitled to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of parliament?” — a wording that has deepened divisions between Budapest and the European Union.


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