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Hungary attacks Soros, Juncker in new media campaign

Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros is targeted in the Hungarian campaign, along with EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker
Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros is targeted in the Hungarian campaign, along with EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker AFP/File
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Budapest (AFP)

Hungary launched a new anti-immigration media campaign on Tuesday in which it accused George Soros and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker of allegedly supporting illegal migration, but which Brussels immediately dismissed as "fake news".

According to the Hungarian government's Facebook page, the media blitz -- funded with taxpayers' money -- is expected to include billboard posters featuring images of the liberal US billionaire Soros and a smiling Juncker above the words: "You too have a right to know what Brussels is preparing".

"They want to bring in the mandatory settlement quota; weaken member states' rights to border defence; facilitate immigration with a migrant visa," it continues.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government, which has frequently clashed with the EU on migration, has regularly undertaken similar campaigns in the past, including "Let's Stop Brussels" and "Don't let Soros have the last laugh."

In recent years, Orban has blasted the Hungarian-born 88-year-old philanthropist and investor as a "public enemy" for allegedly backing uncontrolled mass immigration.

At the same time, Orban's government has frequently been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes and imagery in its campaigns against Soros, claims it denies.

In recent months, pro-Orban media have also attacked Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini -- the author of a critical report about Hungary that formed the basis of EU legal action against Budapest -- and Juncker's deputy Frans Timmermans.

"Brussels continues to want to support illegal immigration," Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesperson, told reporters in Budapest Tuesday.

"Hungarians need to know about this, that's why the latest information campaign has been launched," he said, denying it is part of the upcoming European Parliament election campaign.

Kovacs said plans in "drawers in Brussels" included hikes in financial funding of NGOs and the creation of a special migration fund.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas dismissed the campaign as "fake news".

"The Hungary government campaign beggars belief," he told a briefing in Brussels.

"It is shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory has reached the mainstream to the extent it has. There is no conspiracy, Hungarians deserve facts not fiction," he said.

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