The anti-EU, anti-Soros campaigns continue with renewed vigor

As Der Spiegel reported yesterday afternoon, Chancellor Angela Merkel, when asked her opinion of the outcome of the meeting between the presidency of the European People’s Party and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, remarked that promises are one thing but she is waiting for “the actual results.” It seems that Viktor Orbán can no longer hoodwink European politicians. They have learned over the years that it is foolhardy to trust Orbán and his fellow Fidesz politicians.

Merkel’s comment came after the meeting about which we now know a little more. Today Der Spiegel reported that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and Orbán, who were seated next to one another, engaged in an extended, vehement argument. At one point Jyrki Katainen, vice president for jobs, growth, investment, and competitiveness, apparently warned Orbán that the regional subsidies could be reduced in the future.

Der Spiegel opined that the EPP leadership is mistaken if they think that Orbán’s verbal agreement will be translated into deeds. This is also more or less what Rafał Trzaskowski, a Polish MP from the Civic Platform party who participated in the EPP meeting, suggested when he said that “the question is now whether he will follow what he says. Then, obviously, he can stay with us.” This comment, which I missed yesterday, further convinces me that Fidesz’s position in the EPP is not at all secure and the question of expulsion did come up during the meeting.

Admittedly, only one day has passed since the EPP meeting, but there is no sign of any let-up in anti-EU, anti-Soros propaganda in Hungary. On the contrary, it seems to me that Orbán’s answer to his “humiliation” is open defiance. Nobody really commented on the fact that Viktor Orbán was accompanied by Antal Rogán, his propaganda minister, during his stay in Brussels. Rogán sat silently next to him during his appearance before the European Parliament, and he could be seen at the brief encounter with journalists after the European Council meeting was over on Saturday afternoon.

Orbán’s forced grin may be a sign of discomfort

Rogán’s task is to explain to the Hungarian people what “really” happened in Brussels. He started his propaganda campaign this morning by giving an interview on Magyar Rádió’s “Vasárnapi Újság” in which he emphasized Hungary’s right to maintain positions different from those of the EU majority on certain issues. If necessary, the Hungarian government will take legal action to defend this right. Interestingly enough, he didn’t mention Central European University, the NGOs, or the “Stop Brussels” campaign. His concern was the migrant question. On this there can be no compromise, Rogán maintained. As for Fidesz’s relationship with the EPP, Rogán came up with an intriguing scenario. His claim is that George Soros has been working behind the scenes to have Fidesz expelled from the EPP. According to Rogán, Soros is also putting pressure on the European Union to force Hungary to dismantle the fence and the transit zones on the Serbian-Hungarian border, but this is not negotiable.

We know that the migrant question was discussed during the EPP meeting because politico.hu reported that Saturday’s meeting became tense “when Orbán said he will never accept Muslim migrants” into his country. The refugee crisis is Orbán’s most effective political weapon. Orbán contends that the refugees who came through the Balkans were not desperate people running away from war and the refugee camps in Turkey and elsewhere. Instead, someone for political reasons must have encouraged these men and women to migrate to Europe. Orbán first blamed Angela Merkel, who invited the refugees to Germany. Later he pointed the finger at George Soros, the perfect scapegoat for his political purposes. By accusing Soros of evil designs against Hungary and, in fact, against the whole of Europe, he can move against both the bothersome NGOs and Central European University. CEU may not interfere with his policies as some of the NGOs do, but an independent university over which he has no jurisdiction remains an irritant.

Bence Rétvári, undersecretary of the ministry of human resources, identified Soros as the source of all the problems Europe and Hungary are facing today. Soros’s meeting with Juncker especially bothers the members of the Orbán government. They envisage a whole Soros network that “applies pressure on the country.” Rétvári directed another attack on Central European University and its president, Michael Ignatieff, who after all “led the Canadian Liberal party and therefore behaves like a politician.” Despite all the protestation, he claims, CEU is not an independent university.

The brand new “Stop Brussels!” and anti-Soros ad, which runs on several television channels, can be seen here with English subtitles.

Zoltán Lomnici, Jr., an extreme right-winger and an active member of the government-sponsored CÖF, a pseudo-NGO, demanded on M1, the state television news station, that the 226 members of the European Parliament named in a document released by DC Leaks should be investigated because of the possibility that they serve foreign interests. Lomnici is referring to a publication prepared by the KumQuat Consult for Open Society European Policy Institute titled “Reliable allies in the European Parliament (2014-2019).” The list contains mostly Social Democratic, Green, and Liberal politicians. Lomnici pointed out that of the 17 MEPs who spoke during the plenary session on the Hungarian question 11 appeared on the Open Society’s list. Nézőpont Intézet, a pro-government think tank, devoted an opinion piece to the subject in which the author listed such important politicians as Martin Schulz, Olli Rehn, Gianni Pittella, Guy Verhofstadt, Sophie in’t Veld, and Ulrike Lunacek. Even Frank Engel, a Christian Democrat, is listed, which naturally explains why Engel would like to see Fidesz expelled from the EPP. Magyar Idők was pleased to report that Prime Minister Robert Fico is also contemplating steps to achieve “the transparency of civic organizations in Slovakia” and that the Polish government, just like Hungary, has problems with the Norwegian Fund.

The current Macedonian crisis is a godsend for the Orbán government’s Soros bashing. I should note here that Hungary, alongside Russia, is backing the Macedonian president, Gjorge Ivanov, who was a guest of the Orbán government about a month ago. On April 18 a Fidesz member of parliament addressed a question to Péter Szijjártó concerning the situation in Macedonia where, in his opinion, George Soros is behind the disturbances in Skopje. “The people of Macedonia have had enough of this and they began a ‘Let’s Stop Soros’ movement.” László Szabó, undersecretary in the foreign ministry, the man who will be the next Hungarian ambassador in Washington, replied. He claimed that Soros has been organizing anti-government demonstrations ever since May 2015. Since then, Péter Szijjártó released a statement about foreign interference in Macedonia’s internal affairs, which bore a suspicious resemblance to the statement published by the Russian ministry of foreign affairs.

In any case, the anti-Soros campaign is going on with renewed intensity as is the campaign to sign and return the “Stop Brussels!” national consultation questionnaires, to which both the European Commission and the presidency of the European People’s Party have strenuously objected. In fact, the government just launched a new campaign to urge people to return the questionnaires because they will play a vital role in the government’s defense of the country against the attacks by the European Union. At the same time, the government is trying to explain away the real meaning of the national consultation which, according to the latest interpretation, is simply a way of expressing the Hungarian government’s intentions to reform and improve the structure of the European Union. Somehow, I don’t think that Frans Timmermans and Joseph Daul will fall for this latest ruse of Viktor Orbán.

April 30, 2017
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Member

Expulsion of Hungary from the EU and the NATO is the only real solution to the viktor problem.

Gabor Toka
Guest

Except that that does not solve any problem except some of those that Putin and Erdogan would love to solve for themselves. No sane Hungarian patriot can possibly advocate those measures. It is a different matter that both things can occur at some point and they would be against the desires of Orban. But that should not make them desirable for well-meaning friends of the people of Hungary.

old1956
Guest

Vision?

Hungarians must stand up for staying in EU and NATO.

Good decent patriots should finally unite to end the rule of this regime in Hungary.

If Skopje, Kiev, Cairo can dispose dictators, why can’t we do the same in Budapest?

Doggo
Guest

Well deserved criticism of Soros is not surprising in Hungary or the United States where critique of George Soros is much more intense and profound.

Soros with his money wants to decide questions like who should be president of the US (Soros says Hillary Clinton) or how many Muslim migrants should be transported into the EU per year.

People who disagree with the positions Soros takes on extreme mass migration or political questions are fully entitled to criticize Soros.

Criticism is a part of open debate and a multibillionare like Soros with thousands of employees tasked with defending his interests, do not need or deserve extra defense from independent minded people.

Soros is not some god to be breathlessly adored or that his criticism should be treated the same way as blasphemy.

Critique against Soros is a natural part of the discourse in US as well as Hungarian public life.

Reality Check
Guest

Criticising Soros is one thing, trying to shut-down a University is a whole different matter. Using him as a scapegoat to deflect from a nation’s many problems is a sign of a failing and flailing government.

The assertion that Soros is somekind of puppet master directing refugees toward Europe is utter nonsense. Only a feeble-minded fool would fall for such blatant propoaganda.

Guest

“The assertion that Soros is somekind of puppet master directing refugees toward Europe is utter nonsense. Only a feeble-minded fool would fall for such blatant propaganda.”

Feeble-minded foolishness is a widespread and recalcitrant condition (about 2 million cases in Hungary). Heavy doses of antidote must be administered.

petofi
Guest

The problem is, JeanP, that the people have been habituated to think like that by the Catholic chuch from an early age…

Observer
Guest

But what has Soros to do with
– the Orban regime going fascist,
– with its failing to resolve/improve anything in Hun, or
– with the orgy of corruption raging here?

A. This non existent issue is being whipped up to bamboozle the dupes, so that they can milked and f….d further.

bimbi
Guest

You do know, don’t you, that Szijjarto and Orban are both paid agents of Pyutin’s Russia?

old1956
Guest

Bimbi, thank you for stating the obvious facts.

Petofi may agree with us, too.

These and other facts of the “Active Measures” need wide publicity.

Observer
Guest

And why don’t we talk about what Soros did at Fukushima, eh?

petofi
Guest

Everyone should remember that the Russians are about creating confusion. The greater the falsehood, the greater the confusion…

Member
Ferenc
Guest
petofi
Guest

Oh-oh. Short shelf-life for the Cork-er…

petofi
Guest

I mean, Gork-er…

Piotr
Guest

A detail: Rafał Trzaskowski is actually the vice-president of EPP, so his skepticism has more important for the group.

Member

“Somehow, I don’t think that Frans Timmermans and Joseph Daul will fall for this latest ruse of Viktor Orbán.” I don’t believe that, either.

No sensible and well-informed European politician will believe Orbán. But some of them might still be ready to cynically instrumentalize Orbán. (Yes, there are right-wing, conservative and immigration-sceptic/cryptoracist politicians who want to portray Orbán as the hero in the shining armour, even while knowing that he is a corrupt opportunist.)

And what Timmermans or Daul think or believe is different from what the EPP or the European Commission will really do.

aida
Guest
I have not been able to access it but the Fidesz 2014 election manifesto might make interesting reading. The two topics that might have been covered are the status of Universities and the position of foreign funded NGOs. I expect that Hungary’s relationship with the EU would have been platitude ridden jargon, but on the former two it would have foreshadowed some action if Fidesz had concerns. In its anti Soros rhetoric there is something of “1984”. As to how the EPP will ultimately respond and for that matter the Commission the problem is very tricky. The EU is possibly on the verge of disintegration. Le Pen win in France would usher in a new age of European uncertainty. France is a very difficult country. Rightly, they do not trust their leaders any more than they like the Police. Also there is an underlying sense of entitlement on a scale that should make one’s eyes water. Yet they work hard and are productive, much more so than the English. The ordinary poor French resent the large numbers of unintegrated mostly unemployed Arabs who live on benefits and/or proceeds of crime. Match day at the Stade de France between France and… Read more »
Guest

” unintegrated mostly unemployed Arabs”
You should remember that France not too long ago still occupied Morocco, Tunesia, Algeria – and the cruelties of the occupiers are well documented, so again it’s:
Sins of the fathers …

aida
Guest

UK Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portugal all have rather colourful colonial histories more or less as cruel as one another.
It is a reality of life that when the ruling elite is either unwilling or unable to address the most rudimentary problems of the population they blame the outsiders.
In the UK no attempt has been made to address the challenges presented by European migrants arriving in large numbers. Result: Brexit. The problem in France is more profound.
What I have difficulty in understanding is why it is when each year 300,000 migrants arrive in a country the Government does absolutely nothing to facilitate their absorption seamlessly. No new schools, no new hospitals, no new housing, nothing. The Cameron and now the May solution is to reduce the migrant numbers to the “tens of thousands”.
Problems that are not addressed in time fester and generate other more difficult problems.

Guest

You’re absolutely correct – that’s one of the things I never understood!

Of course Germany also had and still has problems with some immigrants (in every group there will be some rotten apples …) but I think we can be proud of having integrated most of them – we had those waves from Spain and Portugal, later Italy Greece and Yugoslavia and then Turkey and …

And I know many from all these groups – from the Italian guest worker who swears that the eggs I bring to Germany from our neighbour in Hungary are the best in the world to the Egyptian professor who likes to tell the story how his parents tried to get all his German friends who visited him/them to convert to Islam …

That’s Multi-Kulti!

Member

Here in Sweden I think we managed the integration quite well, but we surely could be better. What I see now is that a lot of civilians take responsibility to take care of the newcomers. It’s hartworming.

Observer
Guest

EU is not disintegrating, nor is in “deep crisis” . Crisis it is, the migration cunami brought to front existing problems of old, e.g. the required unanimous vote of 28 members was/is bad enough already. Many of the problems came with the new members the UK, Greece and the E.Europeans – these were too different to fit in nicely.
The WEur economic problems brought by the globalization are a different area, and they are exacerbated by the rigidity of the political systems, the PC, etc.

That said, there are powerful economic gravitational factors in the EU area which do and will override or defeat b any media histrionics or nationalistic/populist digging. M Le Pen how’s no chance and the FN, even in its milder Marie version, is still far from a governing position.

If the EU take some rotten apples out of the basket, this will more good than harm. The core countries may and should change some membership conditions after which there will be no (good) life outside the EU. In such a case the poor periphery, Hun inc, will quickly find out what is life outside really like.

Member

You point out PC as a problem. In my way of thinking the PC is the guardian Angel of democracy. What do you think?

aida
Guest

Let people have their say. You may not like either the content or the manner. If either is against the law, deal with it. If not, be ready to challenge it. It leads to free discussion. PC’s object is to supress it in the name of righteousness. Let there be lively and if need be rude debate.

petofi
Guest

For there to be useful debate, there must be respect. Hungarians have no respect: they either cower or, when in big groups, attack.

petofi
Guest

The Hungarian populace is deluded, while the leadership gives not a whit about them and continues to rape and pillage. When the time comes they will decamp and join up with their moneys, wherever that might be.

petofi
Guest

Or, as a friend of mine used to say: “My son has told me that unless he has cheated someone that day, he can’t sleep.”

HAJRA MAGYAROK!!

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