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Feb 15, 2019

Hungarian NGO activists lobby MPs in the Dutch Parliament to put more pressure on Hungary

Earlier this week, NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands published an interview with Márta Pardavi, president of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, under the title, “I understand if the Dutch are wondering why they give money to Hungary.” Just to be sure the readers know who Pardavi is, the Dutch paper points out that she was one of 28 on POLITICO Europe’s “Shaking, Shaping and Stirring Europe” list and leads an NGO that “provides legal assistance to asylum seekers.”

So here is an NGO activist, unelected and accountable to nobody, who helps illegal migrants enter the country and the territory of Europe and who accepts an invitation to “the Dutch House of Representatives to have conversations on the situation of the Hungarian and Polish rule of law,” according to the interview. Her organization, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, receives ample funding from Soros.

"The role of national parliaments is currently very important," said Pardavi, referring to the national parliaments in the EU member states. She wants, of course, to “encourage their governments to take the next steps” in the infringement procedure against Hungary.

Then yesterday in the Hague, the House of Representatives indeed hosted a roundtable discussion on “Rule of law development in the EU.” It had little to do with the EU and focused mainly on Hungary. Critics on the panel asked the Dutch MPs to increase pressure on Hungary. Fact-based arguments describing the real situation in Hungary were swept aside or ignored, according to people who were in attendance, but criticisms from representatives of the CEU and Hungarian Helsinki Committee were welcomed.

These “experts” on the panel have no support to show from Hungarian voters. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee delivers support to illegal migrants, but Hungarian voters have made it clear several times that they want illegal immigration stopped.

You get the irony here. We have a Hungarian activist dependent on foreign funding and carrying zero democratic mandate attempting to lobby the parliamentarians of other countries against her own country, Hungary, and its democratically elected government. Because rule of law.

Back in the 1990s, Frank Füredi was writing about activism, elitism and political apathy, and he made some points that ring true still today. He wrote that the role of traditional representative bodies, such as trade unions, is strongly declining. Instead, we’re seeing other groups gaining power, groups that like to see themselves as disadvantaged, radical outsiders in a constant struggle against the interests of various political and economic groups. But these activist groups, aside from lacking democratic mandate, increase their influence and authority based on distrust towards others. It’s in their interest to give voice to that distrust and even stir it up.

This game has been going on for some time. I’m baffled as to why the honorable MPs of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands would turn to NGO activists like this pretending that they have no political agenda of their own and as if they carried some kind of legitimate mandate.