At the initiative of socialist, liberal, and green parties, the European Parliament accepted a document last week that would trigger the “nuclear option” against Hungary – the stripping of voting rights in the European Council – for “the systemic threat to rule of law.” For close observers of today’s current affairs, this latest move is nothing new. It looks and smells like a reprise of an earlier Brussels narrative. In 2013, a similar, politically motivated report, entitled the Tavares Report, was released relying largely on partisan sources, Hungary’s left-wing opposition, and echoed by their European comrades. Coincidentally, the Tavares Report was released one year before the elections of 2014. We’re now one year out from the 2018 parliamentary elections.
Yet upon closer analysis, this document is substantially weaker. It lists issues that were discussed and resolved long ago – like Hungary’s media law accepted in 2011, which was settled after discussions with the Commission. Hungary will go through that routine with the Commission again, if necessary, and we expect that, once again, the Commission will find no “systemic threat to rule of law,” simply because these claims were made with no factual basis or evidence. As before, Hungary is ready to modify legislation if the Commission finds substantial reason.
In fact, this latest document becomes simply ridiculous at points. It lists as one of the concerns an old rumor that the Hungarian Academy of Sciences would close the archives of a late, communist philosopher named György Lukács. Today, the archive is alive and well and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences – which has been operating independently of the Hungarian government since its formation 191 years ago – ensured the public in April 2016 (!) that there exists no desire or plans to disassemble it. This rumor ceased being a story in Hungary years ago, but apparently, it remains a great source of concern for certain leftists in the fever swamps of Brussels.
Another source of “concern for the rule of law” is the old favorite: the independent media. In October 2016, an Austrian investor with media holdings in Hungary decided to suspend the outlets that were losing money. That included Hungary’s largest left-wing daily newspaper Népszabadság. Is the European Parliament suggesting the government of Hungary should have interfered with the business decisions of Austrian investors in Hungary? How is that in line with the freedom of movement of capital and services within the EU?
There is, however, something new in this latest Brussels blitz, and that part is a little scary. The document clearly shows the influence and agenda of American billionaire George Soros, who was warmheartedly received in Brussels at the end of last month. The EU text calls for the withdrawal of Hungary’s amendment on the laws and regulations placed on higher education, which allegedly threatens the direction of the Central European University (a higher education institution founded and funded by Soros). The text also calls for the withdrawal of a proposed law to increase the transparency of NGOs, a bill that has not even been put up for vote in the Hungarian Parliament.
The statement accepted in the EU Parliament clearly advances an agenda that would inhibit Hungary’s ability to protect the EU’s outer borders and lead to an increase in illegal migration, a goal openly promoted by George Soros. It calls on Hungary to open up camps for asylum seekers (who now have the choice to wait in these camps until their case is cleared or remain outside the EU) and criticizes Hungary for the low numbers that are granted asylum. The document even goes as far as demanding freedom for the terrorists who attacked Hungarian border guards in 2016. In the wording of the document, the main perpetrator who was convicted in Hungary is described as “using a megaphone to increase tensions and throwing three objects at the border police.” Illegal immigrants behaving violently and assaulting border officials should be set free?
Four years after the Tavares Report, we now have the Soros Report arriving in timely fashion one year before elections in Hungary. One of George Soros’s great PR achievements is that he is frequently referred to as a “philanthropist.” Make no mistake, however, his lobbying efforts and his funding go directly to a politically ideologically driven agenda that many European voters would consider far outside the mainstream.
In the US and elsewhere, his Open Society Foundations have funded groups like: the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and the Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project, which support open borders and mass immigration; MoveOn.org, a web-based movement that supports leftist candidates with fundraising, advertising, and get-out-the-vote drives; the National Committee for Voting Integrity, which opposes "the implementation of proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements for voters in America”; al Haq and Gisha and other pro-Palestinian groups highly critical of Israel; and so on. The list is indeed long, but it’s hardly benign philanthropy.
DC Leaks has provided heaps of information exposing Soros’s efforts to undermine governments that do not subscribe to his globalist, liberal philosophy. Soros funded the Center for American Progress, founded by Clinton confidante John Podesta, a group that actively supported the Hungarian opposition in the lead up to the 2014 elections. The Orbán Government, as POLITICO Europe reported, is clearly one of Soros’s targets.
The “Article 7 procedure” will remain on the agenda for some time. Although we have grown accustomed to the liberal criticism from Brussels, we refuse to leave Europe’s southern borders unprotected. We will treat partisan attacks accordingly, but if the European Commission wishes to engage in a substantive dialogue about how Hungary’s legislation should be amended, we’re open to a constructive conversation.