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N obody in Miskolc can say with certainty that they have ever seen a migrant or a refugee in the city. A few residents think they might have seen one or two people back in but cannot be sure. Others say their friends have seen migrants in the streets but admit they have not seen any themselves. And yet, in this city of , inhabitants in north-east Hungary , a fierce election campaign is under way in which there is one overriding issue being discussed ahead of the vote on 8 April.
It is not the recent series of corruption scandals involving government officials and vast sums of money. Nor is it the depressing state of local healthcare or low wages. It is migration. Share your views and experiences using our encrypted form here. One of our journalists may contact you to discuss further and we will feature some of your contributions in our reporting.
Posters plastered across Hungary portray Soros as a grinning, evil puppet master, desperate to flood Hungary with refugees and destroy the country in cahoots with the opposition. Each day brings new salvos in the government messaging on migration. What will Europe be? However, the opposition is divided and much of the population apathetic about politics. Changes that the government has made to electoral law over the past eight years are likely to help him win.
Even when there were hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees passing through Hungary in , few if any of them made it to Miskolc. But the only real migration crisis in the city is that locals are trying to leave, either for Budapest or for other EU countries. It is estimated that over 20, residents have left over the past decade.
And yet migration kept coming up in conversations with local people as the decisive factor. On a chilly morning last week, volunteers from movement handed out bundles of leaflets to passengers at Budapest Keleti station, hoping they in turn would distribute the materials more widely in the regions.