From the moment the war in Ukraine erupted, Hungary opened its doors in front of growing waves of refugees fleeing war in eastern and central parts of Ukraine. We have so far welcomed more than 167,000 refugees, and Hungary is prepared to provide shelter, care and even work for many more than that.
In a press statement made at the border last week, Prime Minister Orbán confirmed that “all refugees who come from a neighboring country must be helped,” adding that “this is an elementary, human, Christian instinct for life.” Acting in this spirit, the Hungarian government earmarked HUF 600 million in humanitarian aid to go to Ukraine, besides the more than HUF 200 million in support already gathered through the 1357 national helpline. What’s more, the government is supporting charity organizations, including the Hungarian Red Cross and Hungarian Interchurch Aid, with no less than HUF 1.35 billion.
And this is just the beginning, as PM Orbán said, Hungary is prepared to provide much more support to those in need.
We weren’t expecting any special recognition for this, but one would have hoped that on this particular occasion – perhaps just this once – our critics among the mainstream media would refrain from pushing their usual, biased, anti-Hungary narrative.
We’ve grown accustomed to their smears, but this case is different. By spreading fake news about Hungary’s policy on welcoming refugees, they are potentially making the lives of those fleeing war even more difficult. That’s what makes German state media ZDF’s slanted reporting (click here and here) from the Hungarian-Ukrainian border so dangerous.
In the reports made by Patricia Schäfer for the German state TV, the reporter claims to have encountered certain cases where individuals without a biometric passport had been denied entry to Hungary’s territory at the Hungary-Romania border. According to the rules and policies in force, such a situation simply cannot occur. Here’s why.
All third-country nationals who fulfill the Schengen entry conditions may enter Hungary from Romania. In addition, entry will not be refused to Ukrainian nationals and third-country nationals who can prove that they were legally present on the territory of Ukraine at the time of the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
At the Romania-Hungary border, third-country nationals are NOT required to hold a biometric passport to enter Hungary. According to Government Decree 56/2022 (24.2.22), persons fleeing from Ukraine, including via Romania, may enter with any document or even without a document, while persons wishing to enter for other purposes are subject to the Schengen Borders Code.
Sadly, this is not the first time that media outlets paid for by German taxpayers have used their reporting and influence to undermine the Hungarian government. More often than not, just like in this case, ZDF and Deutsche Welle have actively disseminated fake news about our decisions and policies.
My regular readers will remember the time when ZDF compared the Hungarian prime minister to fictional, cannibal, serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Or when the same “funnyman,” Oliver Welke, called PM Orbán an “idiot” and proposed to set up an EU “without the stupid Hungarians and Poles.”
In a moment of bizarre irony, Deutsche Welle produced a story criticizing the Hungarian government for restoring national heritage sites that were destroyed in World War II.
A year ago, ZDF set out on the important mission to tell the “real story” about poverty in Hungary. Back then, they painted a distorted image of Hungary’s poverty situation, one that was in complete contradiction with Eurostat’s latest statistics of an improving poverty situation in Hungary.
I cannot stress this enough: This is the kind of coverage that Germany is backing with hard-earned taxpayers’ money — and now to the detriment of those they continuously say they are so dedicated to protecting: wartime refugees.