Soon we’ll travel
Europe’s new fault line, where populist politicians
are taking the stage. They are spurred on by the frustration
of their fellow countrymen. And that frustration is not always
entirely unjustified. But is there truth to the catchphrases that helped the Orbáns
and the Salvini’s win the elections? Who’s not taking facts
too seriously? And who’s straight-out lying? Let’s take a look at four claims
by four politicians about refugees, press freedom,
borders and terrorism. ‘Hundreds of thousands of immigrants
were being delivered to our coast by NGOs, to the indifference
of the international community.’ Matteo Salvini,
Italian Minister of the Interior Since 2014, 600.000 people
arrived at Italy’s coasts. NGOs delivered 120.000 of them. More than half of the total number
of arrivals, 309.000, where brought to shore
by the Italian navy and coast guard. Salvini’s statement about NGOs
is false. However, he does have a good reason to denounce the international
community’s indifference. Because of its geographical position,
Italy receives more refugees and immigrants
than other European member states. Europe does not succeed
in distributing these newcomers. The Hungarian prime minister
Orbán, among others, refuses to participate
in a relocation programme. Because of that,
Italy has to accommodate a disproportionate amount
of newcomers. ‘Right now press freedom
in Poland is absolute.’ Piotr Glinski,
Polish Minister of Culture Reporters Without Borders says that Poland’s governing party
Law and Justice has effectively turned the state media
into government mouthpieces. Dissidents face intimidation. Investigative journalist Tomasz Piatek
was threatened with a military trial after exposing ties between former
Minister of Defence Macierewicz and Russian intelligence services. And a television channel that reported
on anti-government protests in 2016 faced a monster fine. Poland is now 58th in Reporters Without Borders
Press Freedom Ranking. Belgium is seventh. But things can get even worse. Down on the 73rd place
we find Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. ‘George Soros and the European Union are looking to dismantle border fences
in EU member states, to open up the borders for immigrants.
In Hungary too!’ Viktor Orbán,
prime minister of Hungary George Soros, an American-Hungarian
businessman, stated in 2016 that Europe needs to regain control
of its borders. Moreover, he wrote that
EU member states cannot be forced to accept refugees against their will. Per capita, Hungary receives
almost twice the amount of European subsidies for its
border security as Germany does. Moreover, Hungary was allotted
23 million euros over the course of 7 years to finance
asylum and migration management. This is half as much as Germany, which houses 170 times the amount
of refugees that Hungary does. ‘Of course not all Muslims
are terrorists, but over the past ten years,
almost every terrorist was a Muslim.’ Heinz-Christian Strache,
vice chancellor of Austria In 2017 separatists accounted for 66%
of terrorist attacks in Europe: 137 out of 205. This includes The New IRA and the leftist Basque Abertzale
secession movement in Spain. Jihadist attacks came in second
at 16%. An important point of nuance: jihadist
attacks are, by far, the deadliest. In 2017, 62 of 68 terror related deaths
in Europe occurred during jihadist attacks. And Al Qaeda, the Taliban,
Boko Haram and ISIS are the world’s four most deadly
terrorist movements. We’ve factchecked four claims
by four populist European leaders. But what do the inhabitants
of their countries think? We’ll poll their thoughts
the next couple of weeks with our Europinion voting ballot, which we’ll take
to Europe’s market places. Keep an eye on this YouTube channel.