Jan 16, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Never underestimate the determination of the Soros Orchestra

This is the way they work. No democratic mandate. Short-sighted, ideologically driven agenda that has no respect for the will of the citizens.

Prime Minister Orbán laid it out with his characteristic straight talk last week at an international press conference.

“We don’t have a Soros phobia,” he said, “We are not fixated. But we confront a very strong group that is directed by George Soros,” and their goal is to influence the politics of Hungary and the direction of the EU.

“I consider, George Soros a talented, Hungarian man. That’s exactly the problem. I’m very sorry that he is not with us but against us.”

There are those who like to characterize him as a billionaire philanthropist. In Hungary, and in many other countries, he is a political player, who funds political causes and groups with a clear agenda and virtually no democratic mandate. And he has been stepping up his anti-Hungary game.

In addition to the usual witch-hunt against Hungary on the international stage – see last month’s EU General Affairs Council and today’s vote in the European Parliament – the Soros Orchestra has stepped up its game lately: they are on the offense on Hungary’s domestic fronts, supporting issues that will, in the end, hurt those that they seek to protect.

Take the case of Roma segregation in the rural town of Gyöngyöspata, a story that got little attention internationally but perfectly illustrates the Soros organizations’ modus operandi in Hungary. In Gyöngyöspata, a town of some 2,500 northeast of Budapest, the municipality is required to pay out almost 100 million forints (approximately 334 thousand US dollars and more than double its annual budget) to a number of Roma families named as plaintiffs in a case in which the lawyers claimed that they had been segregated in a local primary school. Their case, of course, has been pushed by an ambitious Soros-funded organization determined to make Gyöngyöspatak its cause celebre.

Of course, segregation of any form is bad and we’re fighting it. The problem here is that the sole motive behind the Soros-funded organization’s interest in the issue has been to produce another case against Hungary. Uncaring of the results, the activist Soros-funded organization filed the case, despite the fact that the parents in the case did not agree, against a municipality that is now likely to go bankrupt. They have shaken the local community and caused irreversible divisions.

If you listened carefully to Prime Minister Orbán’s international press conference last week, you might wonder what he meant when he said, “We are not willing to pay to criminals.” Without a doubt, the prime minister was referring to the practice, the so-called “prison deal,” by which wily attorneys – paid for by George Soros – carve out millions for their convicted criminal clients on grounds of supposedly ‘unfair prison conditions’. This means that murderers and kidnappers are milking the state for money with the help of the Soros-funded network of unelected “civic” organizations. Not for much longer, though, as the government will take aim at eradicating this shameful business.

Oh, and then there’s the latest Human Rights Watch country report for 2020.

We expect no praise from one of the largest beneficiaries of George Soros’s “charitable” giving, but at the very least they could have shown more creativity in conjuring new anti-Hungary criticism. Because what we get here is nothing more than – once again - a collection of cases that have already been resolved and a healthy dose of fake news.

Let’s look at a couple of highlights.

Already in the second paragraph - following a brief tone-setter about Hungary continuing to dismantle democracy and rule of law, you know, just because - Human Rights Watch suggests that the Hungarian Government aims to push through changes to the administrative court system that “would allow state institutions to appeal unfavorable administrative court decisions to the Constitutional Court”.

Needless to say, this bears little resemblance to reality. In fact, the new draft will make administrative justice faster and more predictable, which has been the government’s intention all along. This move, the HRW report reads, “follows an unsuccessful attempt by the government to establish a new administrative court system”. Wrong. What really happened was that after listening to critical opinions coming from the EU, the Venice Commission and domestic as well as international circles, Prime Minister Orbán’s government decided to withdraw the plans (read this brief Q&A about the original plan) for an indefinite period of consideration.

“After a serious professional debate,” Justice Minister Judit Varga said in late October, “the government believes that the court should be protected from unnecessary disputes and therefore would maintain a unified court system and would not establish an independent administrative court organization.” For the time being, she added, a draft law is being prepared that will provide a clear framework for administrative litigation, speed up the closure of appeals, and make legal practice more predictable.

Next topic: academic freedom and the state’s alleged ‘increased control over the Academy of Sciences’. New legislation, writes the HRW, “gives the government greater influence over scientific research and funding.” Once again, that’s false.

In reality, Hungary’s National Assembly passed a bill last July that will devote significantly more funds to research and modernize the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The performance of the Academy of Sciences has, in fact, been declining for several years. The financial and bureaucratic structures within the Academy have become increasingly obsolete, negatively impacting the quality of research. The current RDI system is simply not capable of generating socio-economic benefits that are conducive to increasing Hungary's competitiveness. In other words: the cracks in the system began to show. It was high time for reform. (Here’s more on research funding)

Finally, onto the topic of the notorious ‘Hungary’s starving people in the transit zone’ storyline - it’s a personal favorite. It’s a line that’s being aggressively pushed by the likes of the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch and Hungarian Helsinki Committee. Hungary’s current legal framework, one that adheres to international standards, clearly declares that in the transit zone along the border people must be provided with accommodation, three meals a day and dining and sanitary utensils for personal use. Asylum seekers who have requested asylum in Hungary and whose claim is under review continue to receive food and shelter as they always have. Facts matter, and pushing any other version is simply fake news.

What you won’t read in the HRW report: the European Court of Human Rights ruled in November that migrants staying in Hungary’s transit zones while they await a decision on their asylum application does not constitute illegal detention (read more here). That was a claim that the Soros Orchestra pushed ferociously – led by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee that sued Hungary – that migrants were being illegally detained. But reason prevailed at the ECHR and they lost.

This is the way they work. No democratic mandate. Short-sighted, ideologically driven agenda that has no respect for the will of the citizens. This network, as the PM said, is a formidable force directed by the interests and funding of George Soros, and it does so without any mandate from or accountability to Hungary’s citizens.

Photo credit: XpatLoop