The Hungarian government of Viktor Orban launched a media campaign on Facebook against the American investor and philanthropist George Soros and the President of the European commission Jean-Claude Juncker. The Hungarian prime minister accused them to “encourage illegal immigration and to undermine the country’s borders”.
The European commission has reacted by calling “shocking” that “such ridiculous theories have become mainstream”. Natasha Bertaud, Juncker’s spokesperson, declared at Il Sole 24 Ore that “the Juncker Commission is committed against misinformation and fake news and this case is no exception. Hungarians deserve facts, not fictions. The EU supports and does not weaken national border protection. There is no plan for « humanitarian visas ». Members states decide to what extent they accept legal immigration”.
The anti-EU campaign (financed with public money)
The relationship between Orban and Juncker has been tense since the European summit held in 2015, when the President of the European commission greeted the Hungarian leader calling him “dictator”.
Subsequently, the same relations between EU and Hungary have further cooled, above all because of the internal political choices of the Hungarian government and of the European migration policy, not shared by Hungary.
During a press conference held on February 15, 2019, a government spokesman explained that he wanted to tell the truth to Hungarian citizens. According to him, “the elites in Brussels are planning some measures to loosen access control and facilitate migratory flows. Everyone has the right to know the current proposal that fundamentally endanger the security of Hungary”.
Among the cases mentioned are the introduction of mandatory quotas for all EU countries, the granting of visas and money to asylum seekers, the financing of the organisations that support the flows, the “penalisation of countries that do not want immigration”, perhaps alluding to the hypothesis of sanctions against Member states opposed to distribution of migrants.
European commission’s reaction
The European commission denounced the Facebook poster as a “ludicrous conspiracy theory”. “Against lies there is not much that can be done. I proposed the withdrawal of Fidesz (from the European People’s Party), the party of Viktor Orban, because I think that the conservatives in Hungary do not represent Christian-democrats values .This is not common ground between me and Mr. Orban », replied Juncker while speaking at a public meeting in Stuttgart, Germany, on February 19.
The Hungarian prime minister and his Fidesz party will be on the agenda of the EPP political assembly on 20 March. The purpose of this event is to approve the group’s manifesto before European parliament elections in May. The Hungarian leader is facing a backlash and risks being expelled after his government launched the anti-EU campaign against the European commission leader, Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also in the EPP. The EPP is Europe’s most powerful political force, with the highest number of seats in the European parliament and nine EU leaders among its ranks.
The executive body of the EU quickly denied the various theories spread by the Hungarian government. The first clarification concerns the quota mechanism that would be imposed, according to Hungary, voluntarily: “As regards the relocation of asylum seekers, it has always been carried on a voluntary basis. Hungary was asked to show solidarity with member states by accepting a very limited number of refugees (1294 people). Hungary did not accept it”.
The Commission also replied to the accusation of wanting to weaken the EU borders by mentioning the proposal to deploy ten thousand agents on the borders, the repatriation of irregularities and some agreements established with many countries, above all Turkey. The Commission has no plan to propose a new legislation on the so-called “humanitarian visas”.
Politico. Hungary launches campaign targeting Jean-Claude Juncker https://www.politico.eu/article/hungary-launches-campaign-targeting-jean-claude-juncker-george-soros/
Politico. Juncker: Hungary’s ruling Fidesz doesn’t belong in EPP https://www.politico.eu/article/juncker-hungarys-ruling-fidesz-doesnt-belong-in-epp/
DW. EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker slams Viktor Orban over Soros migrant poster https://www.dw.com/en/eus-jean-claude-juncker-slams-viktor-orban-over-soros-migrant-poster/a-47591986
EU Observer. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe’s centre-right https://euobserver.com/political/144212
Youtube. “The dictator is coming”: Juncker trolls Hungarian PM Orban https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFxBhDSK9s
Ansa. Orban su Facebook contro Soros e Juncker http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/mondo/europa/2019/02/19/orban-su-facebook-contro-soros-e-juncker_86e417e8-e3a1-434f-8aab-e169a649e21b.html
Il Sole 24 Ore. Ungheria, Orbàn lancia campagna contro Juncker e Soros: “Vogliono immigrazione di massa” https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/mondo/2019-02-19/ungheria-orban-lancia-campagna-contro-juncker-e-soros-vogliono-immigrazione-massa-165844.shtml?uuid=ABVTczVB
Euronews. Juncker tra due fuochi: un possibile rinvio della Brexit e le critiche di Orbàn https://it.euronews.com/2019/02/20/juncker-tra-due-fuochi-un-possibile-rinvio-della-brexit-e-le-critiche-di-orban
Il Giornale.it. L’Ungheria chiude ai migranti. Parte la campagna contro Soros e Juncker http://www.ilgiornale.it/news/mondo/lungheria-chiude-ai-migranti-parte-campagna-contro-soros-e-1648093.html
The Guardian. Brussels accuses Orbàn of peddling conspiracy theory with Juncker poster https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/brussels-orban-jean-claude-juncker-poster-george-soros-hungary
The Guardian. European parliament bloc set to consider ejecting Viktor Orbàn https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/27/european-parliament-bloc-set-to-consider-ejecting-viktor-orban?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR1qrLFSlnFlIYOAOFnvrfxZqCa12CFS3PdP4qyt50Q8cx3wVlrIaz6463k