Hungary Presents Four Manipulative Ukraine-Related Questions to Be Put Forward during Domestic "National Consultations"
Friday, 17 November 2023
Hungary has released a list of issues that the authorities have put up for what it calls a "national consultation", including four that relate to Ukraine in one way or another.
A total of 11 issues have been included in the "consultation". The questionnaires will be sent by post starting Friday and will reach all Hungarian voters, so "all Hungarians will be able to express their opinions on issues that fundamentally affect Hungary's economy and security," said Hungarian government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi.
The Orbán government has listed the war in Ukraine and Israel, Ukraine's accession to the EU, as well as utility bills, interest rate freezes, the surplus tax, foreign influence on Hungarian politics and the law on child protection as such issues.
Moreover, four issues concern Ukraine, all of them worded manipulatively.
Contrary to expectations, the answers aren't presented as "yes" or "no" but rather in greater detail, intensifying the manipulation.
Specifically, the sixth question concerns the supply of weapons to Ukraine, and it is worded as follows: "Brussels is eager to send more weapons to Ukraine. Brussels has taken a pro-war stance from the very beginning... and has spent over €5 billion on developing the Ukrainian army. And the latest proposal is to allocate another €20 billion to arm Ukraine."
The response options suggested by the Hungarian government read as follows: "We need a ceasefire and peace instead of arms supplies" and "More weapons purchased with EU money should be sent to the battlefield".
Another Ukraine-related question concerns financial support and is worded as follows: "The European Commission wants to allocate an additional €50 billion to support Ukraine. As this amount is not in the current EU budget, they want to get additional funds from member states. They are asking Hungary for an additional contribution, which has not received the EU money it is entitled to under the agreements for a long time. Hungary has allocated billions of forints [Hungarian national currency – ed.] to help refugees from Ukraine."
The following answers are suggested to this question: "We will not pay more to support Ukraine until we receive our funds" or "We will support Brussels' request, even if the funds owed to us are still unpaid".
Another question concerns the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU and reads as follows: "There are increasingly more calls for Ukraine to become a full member of the EU, even though there is a war going on there. Admission of Ukraine to the EU would fundamentally disrupt the current system of (financial) support for the EU. Ukraine would receive a significant share of EU funds as a full member under the current rules."
The Hungarians are asked to answer this question with either: "The conditions for Ukraine's full membership have not yet been created" or "Ukraine's full membership should definitely be supported".
Notably, the wording of this issue has been significantly softened.
The question should have initially sounded like this: "Do you agree that Ukraine, where there is a war going on, should become a full-fledged member of the European Union and bring the war to your doorstep?" And two answers: "yes" or "no".
The final question about Ukraine in this questionnaire concerns Ukrainian grain, labelled "genetically modified", and worded as follows: "After the outbreak of the war, Brussels opened its borders to Ukrainian grain supplies. This measure was supposed to allow grain to be supplied to the world's poorer regions. However, instead, a significant portion of genetically modified Ukrainian grain flooded the markets of Eastern European countries, leaving producers in the region in a dire situation. Hungary has banned imports of Ukrainian grain, but Brussels still wants us to let Ukrainian GM grain in.
The possible answers to this question are as follows: "We should protect Hungarian farmers in every way possible and ensure that Hungarian agriculture is GMO-free" or "We should open our market to Ukrainian GM grain".