Foreign Office officials told Britain’s FT that it had complained to the Hungarian government about “wilful misrepresentation” of the situation. The ambassadors of France, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium had also complained.
However, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has defended the claims. He told BBC Newsnight the leaflet was “based on official reports from police and other security agencies”.
Mass immigration has led to a crime wave and increased the likelihood of terror attacks, the Hungarian government says, adding that authorities were struggling to maintain order in some 900 areas across the continent.
“The values of the host society can barely be maintained,” it says.
A French official protested the leaflet, claiming: “This strange concept of no-go zones does not exist in French reality. The law of the French republic is applied in all parts of French territory.”
European governments have become especially sensitive to accusations they have allowed areas of their cities to become “no-go zones” where extremism grows and authorities rarely uphold the law. Some go as far as denying such places even exist.
Most recently it became a topic in run up to Britain’s EU membership referendum, with an Asian-background man challenging then Prime Minister David Cameron on the issue during a televised debate.
Harry Bhopara told Mr Cameron how rising levels of immigration were making the town he grew up in less safe: “I have no GP, as all of them are full in my area. I can’t get onto the housing ladder and have three kids in one room. My kids’ school is growing in size every year but not in staff. The place where I grew up was a lovely area but is now a no-go zone.”
The former Prime Minister failed to answer the point, however, instead moving on the topic of the economy.