Tag Archives: Hungary

Hungary dabs HR Report “absurd”

Brussels 30.09.2020 Immediately after the Rule of Law presentation by the European Commission, the Hungarian government issued a communication, providing an assessment of the document, viewing it as highly subjective, and politically motivated tool serving other purposes than declared.

Commission’s Rule of Law Report is not only fallacious, but absurd. It cannot serve as a basis for any further discussion on rule of law in the European Union. The concept and methodology of the Commission’s Rule of Law Report are unfit for purpose, its sources are unbalanced and its content is unfounded.

The Commission’s Rule of Law Report makes no reference to objective benchmarks that apply equally to all Member States.

The choice of sources in the report is biased and non-transparent. It is unacceptable for the Commission’s Rule of Law Report to be written by organisations forming part of a centrally financed international network engaged in a coordinated political campaign against Hungary. The Hungarian chapter makes reference to twelve “civil society organisations”, eleven of which have in recent years received financial support from the Open Society Foundations linked to Mr. Soros.

Hungary is one of the few Member States where genuine pluralism prevails in the media, in ideological debates, and in the public sphere in general. Unlike the Western European media landscape, which is overwhelmingly dominated by leftist and liberal outlets, in Hungary the situation is more balanced, with conservative and Christian Democratic views also receiving meaningful coverage in the public sphere.

The Fundamental Law of Hungary and the country’s state structure are based on the rule of law. The protection of Hungary’s constitutional identity is the obligation of every organ of the state.

Objective and impartial analysis of all reliable information concerning the situation in Hungary can only lead to the conclusion that the fundamental values of the European Union are being respected, and that the rule of law is being observed”.

The European Commission has today published the first EU-wide report on the rule of law. Today’s report includes input from every Member State and covers both positive and negative developments across the EU. It shows that many Member States have high rule of law standards, but important challenges to the rule of law exist in the EU. It also reflects relevant developments stemming from the emergency measures taken by Member States due to the coronavirus crisis. The report covers four main pillars with a strong bearing on the rule of law: national justice systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media pluralism and freedom, and other institutional issues related to the checks and balances essential to an effective system of democratic governance.

Hungary official refused word by German press

Hungary State Secretary Zoltán Kovács’s response to Der Tagesspiegel – has been refused the publication of his response ot Der Tagesspiegel, and started to share it via social media:
“In an article published last week in German daily Der Tagesspiegel entitled “Why nationalism doesn’t help against the pandemic,” Judith Langowski and Jonas Bickelmann claim that instead of organizing an effective defense against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Orbán and his government are using the virus to achieve ideological goals.” (Image: illustration).

I asked for an opportunity to respond but was refused with the reply that “It will not be possible at this time, neither in the online, nor the print edition.” Langowski did also write that she would “gladly” talk to me the next time they cover the topic. How generous!”

“In an article published last week in German daily Der Tagesspiegel entitled “Why nationalism doesn’t help against the pandemic,” Judith Langowski and Jonas Bickelmann claim that instead of organizing an effective defense against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Orbán and his government are using the virus to achieve ideological goals.

I asked for an opportunity to respond but was refused with the reply that “It will not be possible at this time, neither in the online, nor the print edition.” Langowski did also write that she would “gladly” talk to me the next time they cover the topic. How generous!

In their most recent piece, the authors recall that in late March, the Hungarian Parliament passed a piece of legislation, the so-called “Coronavirus Protection Act,” that allowed the government to “issue decrees indefinitely”; and while this law had already been lifted by the end of June, Tagesspiegel notes that it could be reintroduced “very easily.”

But there’s really no need to get into the details; we all know what these critics are trying to say: Instead of saving human lives, PM Orbán’s government allegedly harnessed the pandemic for political gains. This is not just overly biased, but also completely wrong.

Here are the facts:

This past spring, numerous mainstream, liberal news outlets were sounding the alarm over the “erosion of [Hungarian] democracy” (The Independent) and claiming that PM Viktor Orbán would supposedly “rule by decree, alone and unchallenged” (The Guardian).

These fears, however, were proven to be groundless.

Contrary to what these biased sources would have had you believe, the Hungarian government never received “unlimited powers.” The special powers the government did receive could be exercised only to prevent, treat, eradicate and remedy the harmful effects of the coronavirus. Similarly, the extraordinary measures were never intended to last “indefinitely”; they were meant to expire with the threat or be lifted by the National Assembly. And this is exactly what happened at the end of May, when the government proposed to hand back the extraordinary powers it had received under the state of emergency, which had been put into effect solely to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, we know that the Coronavirus Protection Act has, in fact, served the country well. It enabled the government to take swift action, closing borders, enacting movement restrictions, and equipping our national healthcare system and healthcare providers with the equipment necessary to treat all those who required care — all of which served to slow down the spread of the disease. Thanks to this legislative package, with 39.04 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants by early June, Hungary ranked among the top performers in Europe in terms of managing the pandemic. As Prime Minister Orbán has recently said on several occasions: In managing the first wave of the epidemic, Hungary scored among the top 20-25 countries globally.

Yes, it may be true that the number of active coronavirus cases and, sadly, the number of deaths have been climbing during the last few weeks in Hungary, but this is not due to any “populist strategy.” In fact, in a national consultation survey that ended on August 31, we collected the views of more than 1.7 million Hungarians. Based on this vast data, the Hungarian government concluded that while the defense against the coronavirus is a top priority for our citizens, we must simultaneously keep the country functioning.

This is why, in the middle of the second wave, we cannot adopt the same, strict restrictions that proved so successful during the first wave of the crisis. But don’t worry, Hungary will be fine. We have a war plan in place for managing the second wave of the crisis and our healthcare system has been properly prepared. We have all the necessary equipment, hospital beds, ventilators and healthcare professionals we need.

In Prime Minister Orbán’s own words: “Together we will succeed in defeating the second wave of the pandemic”.

Hungary migration position unchanged

Since 2015, the stance of the Hungarian Government on migration has been clear and unchanged. We have presented this stance and our proposals on several occasions” writes Zoltan Kovacs, the Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations, International spokesman, Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister Victor Orban.

We believe that the European Union and its member states must cooperate in keeping the looming migration pressure outside our borders. To this end, we should form alliances with countries of origin, so that they are able to provide proper living standards and ensure that their people do not have to leave their homelands. Instead of importing the trouble to Europe, we must bring help to where it is needed.
We believe that Europe’s borders must be protected: External hot-spots will have to be established to process asylum claims; we must ensure that the external borders of the EU and the Schengen Area remain perfectly sealed along all sections.

“Our goal is to see EU member states support each other in achieving the tasks above. While Hungary does not support obligatory distribution, it does defend joint borders, and we expect to receive the same amount of support as other Schengen states protecting those external borders. We would like to remind everyone that since the 2015 migration crisis, the Hungarian Government has spent more than 1 billion euros on protecting the borders of Hungary and the European Union, without a single cent of contribution from Brussels”.

Orban: EU «salto mortale»

“…The world is changing. The changes are tectonic. The United States is no longer alone on the throne of the world, Eurasia is rebuilding with full throttle, the frames of our European Union are crackling, and now it hopes to save itself with a salto mortale. The ground is trembling under the feet of our eastern neighbour. The Balkans is also full of questions to be answered” said Prime Minister Viktor Obran, during the ceremony of unveiling of a new memorial in commemoration of the Trianon centennial.

“A new order is being born. In our world, in our lives as well, great changes are banging on our gates.”

“…The West raped the thousand-year-old borders and history of Central Europe. They forced us to live between indefensible borders, deprived us of our natural treasures, separated us from our resources, and made a death row out of our country. Central Europe was redrawn without moral concerns, just as the borders of Africa and the Middle East were redrawn. We will never forget that they did this” Orban continued.

“…We need to live with the self-confidence and attitude of a nation that knows it has given more to the world than it has received from it. Our performance entitles us to continue our history. And today we also need to know that we have had worse borders, yet we are here” the Prime Minister concluded.

Orban considers quitting EPP

“This cannot go on,” Prime Minister Orbán said in his regular Friday morning interview on the public Kossuth Rádió on January 17. If the European People’ Party doesn’t stand up for Hungary, then we will have to start a new, Christian-Democratic European movement.”

Besides the European Parliament vote yesterday, the Prime minister talked about Vicegrad Four – V4 relations with Austria, “prison deals” in Hungary and the Roma segregation case in Gyöngyöspata.

In a resolution adopted in the European Parliament Plenary with 446 votes to 178 and 41 abstentions, MEPs note that reports and statements by the Commission, the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe indicate that “the situation in both Poland and Hungary has deteriorated since the triggering of Article 7(1)”.

MEPs point out that the hearings organised by the Council under Article 7 of the Treaty are neither regular nor structured. They call on the Council to address concrete recommendations to the countries concerned, including deadlines, to ensure EU law is respected.
The failure by the Council to make effective use of Article 7 continues to undermine the integrity of common European values, mutual trust and the credibility of the European Union as a whole”, claims the EP.

The text also urges the Commission to use all tools at its disposal to prevent a serious breach of common values, such as expedited infringement procedures and applications for interim measures before the Court of Justice.

MEPs debate Rule of Law in Hungary

The Chairman of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar expressed his disappointment with the low attendance at the hearing on Rule of Law in Hungary, taking place on November 21 in Brussels. During the hearing the Finnish presidency representative Marja Rislakki reported on the results of the previous discussion, and announced the issue would be further presented to the General Affairs Council on December 10
to consider Article proceedings against Hungary.

The Article 7(1) procedure triggered by the European Parliament should assess if Hungary is at risk of breaching the bloc core values. According to milestone “Sargentini report” issued in September 2018 named after Green MEP rapporteur, the judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, rights of minorities, and the situation of migrants and refugees are in jeopardy.

The majority of four fifths among member-states would be sufficient to launch the procedure foreseen in Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which might trigger sanctions, such as the suspension of the country’s voting rights in the Council. However the Finnish representative Ms.Rislakki acted with reserve, reluctant to anticipate the outcome of the December meeting, and promising to deliver MEPs opinions to the Council, she added that’s during December Council hearing the new developments in Hungary will be also discussed.

At present the Fidesz party has delayed the judiciary reform, which caused the EU outrage, namely highly criticised system of administrative courts to deal with sensitive public administration lawsuits. However the MEPs has criticised Viktor Orban government, claiming the moving of the Central European University (CEU) to Vienna is symbolising the level of ‘unfreedom’ in Budapest,

Among a few MEPs, showing interest to the subject, the Renew Europe MEP Ramona Strugariu (shadow rapporteur) has put forward a request to participate in the General Affairs Council, explaining her wish in the line of “cooperation” between the European institutions.

While taking a floor the Hungarian MEP Baslazs Hidveghi (Fidesz, EPP) denied any problems with the Rule of Law, explaining that in the EU the issue is interpreted in politically bias manner, used by the Liberal left in an asymmetric attack on Orban government for refusal of migrants relocation. According to the opinion, widespread among Hungarians, the Liberal left has focused on his country in an unprecedented way, imposing requests, which no other member of the bloc has ever faced, Hidveghi underlined. And the reason for this pursuit is in their discontent with the Hungarian attachment to the Christian values, and the determination to conduct sovereign policies, MEP concluded.

Turkey intercepts 350K migrants

At joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the meeting is an outcome of a 2013 agreement that established a Turkish-Hungarian strategic council on the highest level. Since then, PM Orbán said, the leaders of the two countries have come together yearly to discuss the spectrum of issues of critical importance to both countries.

Hungary exists within a geographic space that has been marked out by three capitals: Istanbul – or Ankara – Moscow and Berlin,” Prime Minister Orbán said, reminding listeners that Russian President Putin visited Budapest a few days ago while the German foreign minister also visited recently.

Turkey is a strategic partner for Hungary in terms of both migration and security,” the prime minister said, because – as a fundamental premise of Hungarian foreign policy thinking – “without Turkey, it is not possible to halt migration to Europe.”

“This year alone,” Orbán added, “Turkey has intercepted 350 thousand illegal immigrants. Had Turkey not done so, they would have already been here in the vicinity of Hungary’s southern border.”

Asked about what would happen if Turkey decided to “open the gates” and let all migrants move toward Europe, Orbán said that “Hungary is a country that is able to protect its borders,” adding that Hungary has all the personnel, defense capability and technology required at its disposal for protecting the border, which is an external border of the Schengen Area.

Putin in Hungary: “hysteria” and “conspiracy”

“Stirring up political hysteria around President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Budapest, liberal Hungarian and international media outlets would have you believe their conspiracy theories instead of seeing PM Orbán’s meetings with the Russian President for what they really are: Hungary looking out for its own national interest.

“Otherwise known as “diplomacy.”

“In recent years, annual meetings between Prime Minister Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin have become customary for a reason: Both countries have interests in maintaining political and economic relations on the best possible terms and with transparency. For Hungary, good relations with Russia are clearly in our national interest – a fundamental criteria that has guided the Orbán Governments’ policy decisions over the last nine years.

https://twitter.com/zoltanspox/status/1189905107040780289?s=21

“For example, Russia currently supplies around sixty percent of Hungary’s energy needs. Energy security is a core national interest. It’s not the only factor at play, but if it were, it would be good enough reason for tending carefully to that relationship.

“The international, liberal media, however, supported by domestic operatives, have been trying hard to sell a different story about these regular Hungary-Russia meetings that is not only absurd but also shows clear symptoms of chronic, incurable hypocrisy. These “activists” peddle their conspiracy theories instead of seeing the Orbán-Putin meeting for what it really is: the government looking out for the Hungarian people and Hungary’s national interest.”

Read the latest on Russia’s President visit to Hungary on State Secretary Zoltán Kovács’s BLOG: 

https://tinyurl.com/y6bgjeb8

Orban defends European identity

Hungary Prime Minister Victor Orbán has criticised Brussels’ intention to prevent László Trócsányi for obtaining position of European Commissioner, The former Minister of Justice was under fire of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee for his stance against immigration. The opinion of Prime Minister became public during his regular Friday morning interview on Kossuth Radio’s program Good Morning, Hungary.

The situation has not changed; László Trócsányi is an outstanding man, an internationally recognized lawyer, and an experienced diplomat. […] His only ‘sin’ is that he helped the Government–and me personally–to protect Hungary from immigration and ensured that no one could enter Hungary illegally without documents,Orbán said, adding that Hungary will never yield to the pressure of pro-migration forces.

The Prime minister confirmed that he had already begun talks with incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about the issue. “There is a fierce struggle between those who oppose migration and those who support it. […]. It is a prime minister’s responsibility to think ahead, so I have a second, third, and fourth option up my sleeve,” the Prime minister continued.

Further developing issue of EU solidarity, Orban said that Hungary is ready to help Italy to cope with immigration. Although it will do so through border protection, not via distribution. “However, there are things that we cannot do,” PM Orbán warned. For example, “we will not help open ports, transport migrants, and distribute these people in Europe.” The position of government was explained in connection to last week’s visit to Rome,

Shifting the topic to the Maltese pact on migration, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the pro-migration forces intend to revive migrant quotas and force them upon EU member states. While Hungary will seek legal avenues to tackle the resurrection of the migrant quota system, PM Orbán expressed hope that the policy can be stopped in the European Council by the heads of state and government there.

There is only one continent that, by yielding to its suicidal tendency, does not protect its own identity. This continent is Europe,” the PM observed towards the end of his remarks, adding that the word distribution is in fact an invitation for immigrants.

“Anti-Hungary lobby”strikes again

“The anti-Hungary, pro-migration lobby is back” reads the statement of State Secretary of Hungarian government Zoltán Kovács.

 
Certain elements in the European Parliament remain determined to make Hungary pay for staunchly opposing their pro-immigration agenda and for insisting upon defending Europe’s Schengen border. This is what today’s hearing is all about.

Following a recent initiative by Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, a representative of the Hungarian Government is due to appear at a hearing today in Brussels before an expert committee within the framework of the ongoing Article 7 procedure against Hungary.

For those who don’t recall: almost exactly one year ago, the European Parliament passed a report, drafted by former Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini, (pictured) on the state of Hungary’s rule of law, intent on tying EU cohesion and structural funding to an arbitrary list of “requirements”. In essence, the report regurgitates a laundry list of all the criticisms that Europe’s liberals have thrown at the Orbán Governments since 2010 – including many that Hungary has already resolved with the Commission or other European institutions and more than a few that simply do not fall under the authority of the European Union.

It’s the same left-liberal forces that now want to take revenge on Hungary for standing up against the influx of immigrants and insisting that Europe’s Schengen border be secured. They consider it dangerous and contrary to European values when we insist that the future of Europe depends on protecting our European, Christian way of life and they attempt to silence anyone who opposes their pro-immigration agenda.

“I don’t like that the European way of life is opposed to migration,” said outgoing EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in an interview last week following the announcement of the new Commission portfolios.

That betrays the Juncker Commission’s true colors. It’s an ideologically-driven agenda that the voters of Hungary have rejected more than once.

We welcome with great expectations the new Commission. Following the May European Parliamentary Elections, Hungary and the Visegrád Four have gained in strength in the bloc. As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last Tuesday, two of the incoming European Commission’s Vice-Presidents hail from Czech Republic and Slovakia. Meanwhile, the Polish candidate will oversee agriculture, one of the most important EU policy areas, and the Hungarian Commissioner, László Trócsányi, has been nominated to lead neighborhood policy and EU enlargement.

The tides have turned, it seems.

While we have high hopes for the new Commission and have great confidence in incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, let’s not kid ourselves about the next several weeks. This period will define our relationship for the length of the next Commission’s term. We hope and have reason to believe that, unlike Jean-Claude Juncker, Ms. Leyen will understand what Prime Minister Orbán means when he says that for him, Hungarians come first.” 

 

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