Viktor Orbán defends his regime in the European Parliament

“This situation is like when someone is accused of murder, he is convicted, yet the murder victim is alive and is pointing his finger at the accused all along,” said a belligerent Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during the European Parliament’s special session on Hungary. Mr. Orbán was referring to what the Hungarian leader claims are false accusations leveled against his regime about his desire to shut down Central European University. “My argument is with you and with an international financial speculator,” added Mr. Orbán, in reference to George Soros, the founder of CEU.

“As Hungary’s prime minister, it is my responsibility to ensure that European and Hungarian universities are not at a disadvantage compared to universities from outside of Europe, no matter how wealthy their owner may be,” quipped Mr. Orbán, again referring to Mr. Soros.

CEU was not the only contentious topic for discussion on the European Parliament’s special session on Hungary. The other such issue was the regime’s ever louder anti-EU talk, and in particular its polemical “national consultation,” which it advertises on thousands of billboards that read: “Let’s stop Brussels!” Mr. Orbán pointed out that more than 70% of Hungarians support the European Union, but will “only continue to do so if the EU is built on fair and open debate, and if it recognizes that it must be reformed from time to time.” There is something distinctly dark about the Hungarian prime minister calling for “fair and open debate,” which he and his party colleagues have done everything to eliminate in Hungary.

The third contentious issue in the European Parliament had to do with Hungary’s proposed law against NGOs. The legislation aims to smear and stifle, through a huge amount of bureaucratic red tape and the charge of being a “foreign agent,” any NGO that receives more than around around $30,000 in funding per year from abroad. Meanwhile, in a display of remarkable audacity, the pseudo-NGO “Forum for Civic Cooperation,” intrinsically affiliated with the ruling party, is not held accountable on any level for having completely blurred the line between the party, the state and itself.

Viktor Orbán speaking in the European Parliament. Photo: MTI.

EU reactions to Viktor Orbán’s speech

The most passionate reaction and rebuttal to Mr. Orbán’s attempt at apologetics in the European Parliament came from Italian Socialist MEP Gianni Pittella. Mr. Pittella noted that it often appears as though Hungary were not even a member of the European Union and the country’s government does not show solidarity when it comes to the migrant and refugee situation. “Stop saying that we are the evildoers, that we are the nasty ones, the bad ones! It is not we who want to shut down the university and marginalize the media. Speak the truth to your people!”–retorted the Italian politician.

Guy Verhofstadt a liberal MEP who was once allied with Mr. Orbán some thirty years, when the Hungarian politician was also a proud liberal, called Mr. Orbán a turncoat and someone who is completely unprincipled.

Green MEP Gabi Zimmer began her words by confirming that she is “not a friend of George Soros,” and then added: “I am surprised that you, as a former Soros scholarship recipient would represent a law such as this.” She also demanded that Hungary start respecting international agreements pertaining to refugees.

Green party MEP Jean Lambert reminded Mr. Orbán that if Brussels were just like Moscow (referring to Fidesz claims that the EU is just like the former USSR), then we would see European tanks in the streets of London. “What are you scared of, Mr. Prime Minister?”–asked Ms. Lambert, adding that the prime minister has won three elections, twice with a two thirds majority. So why is it necessary to attack the media, civil society and universities?

In contrast, Nigel Farage, Britain’s eurosceptic UKIP MEP, asked Mr. Orbán: “How many times are you going to show up here just to bump your head?” He suggested that Hungary should join the United Kingdom in leaving the EU.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the conservative European People’s Party of which Fidesz is still a member, noted that he did not understand why the attack against CEU was necessary. “For 25 years it was good practice that CEU awarded Hungarian and European diplomas. We do not understand why this had to be changed. Academic freedom is a fundamental pillar of the EU,” noted Mr. Weber. He then went on to express his appreciation to Mr. Orbán for being willing to answer questions in Parliament, noting that Romania’s Socialist prime minister failed to show up, when the EP was investigating Romanian corruption.

Although the EPP is highly unlikely to eject Fidesz from its ranks, some conservative MEPs expressed reservations about the Budapest regime. “I feel pain in my heart, because I recall the other Fidesz, which wanted to be part of a united Europe. It is not the first time that it appears that developments in Hungary are going against European values,” remarked Esther de Lange. “Are you really the type of man who must paint an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of ‘Brussels’ as an enemy, in order to appear stronger at home?”–asked the Dutch conservative politician.

That last remark was the most devastating of all criticisms leveled against Mr. Orbán in the European Parliament, and not only because it came from within his own conservative faction. Mr. Orbán has repeatedly questioned the manliness and masculinity of his opponents, perhaps most notably Gábor Vona of Jobbik. Now a conservative woman is painting a picture of Mr. Orbán as an insecure bully, who says absurd things about the EU, in order to make himself feel like a man at home.

The EP will vote on May 1st about a joint position on the situation in Hungary.

15 Comments

  1. Don Hermiston says:

    If Mr. Orban is keeping that invasion out of Hungary, then good for Mr. Orban. The question is, ‘who is behind this attempted destruction of Europe?’

  2. Hungary joined the EU eagerly for material advantages. Now that they start realizing that it has some cost, they seem to start vacillating.

    The fact is that in case of any Unions, Federations, etc. where there is a so called central government, it is supreme over the member states. So it is even in the US. Was also in the old Soviet system, just as way back in time of Rome. Just as Britain did, Hungary can do the same.

    What I do not see, and this is a personal view, why did the former Socialist nations join the EU? They were, and even today are far from fitting in, that is not up to par to be able to equally compete. They are like the ‘foster-children’. Have great deal of problems to adjust to western standards.

    In case they formed their own union ,or federation, or whatever might be called, they would much easier function their own way. Also they would be like a buffer zone, between east and west.

    But at the present, whatever the EU laws, rules are, they also have to comply, like it or nor. That is what it means to be part of a larger and more powerful EU.

    Good luck !

    • From this point of view there is something like old EU and you(your eastern nation) should fit in in order to comply. Well I value and respect your values, but expect same. From your opinion it seems there is no such, just accordance to your values not vice versa.

  3. Orban has built his EU policies on simultaneously exploiting and abusing the rules and institutions of the collective. That he could do both for so long and so brazenly is the surest sign that EU is moribund. Orban is a good tactician but a poor strategist because a small country like Hungary will suffer greatly when the collective falls apart and states start to follow their narrow self-interests again.

  4. hunczutpoffa says:

    the EU’s reaction shows how much “the west” has already come under the influence of George Soros’s sneaky ideological crusade. Orban is one of the few who see the pattern behind the philanthropical make up although his autocratic style may arguably not be to everyone’s taste. This may only be the tip of the iceberg of an ideological war and I am afraid Hungary may have problems in future to continue her tightrope-walk of limiting foreign influence while staying in the EU. At the end of the day: egyedul vagyunk……

  5. The European Union has tolerated this Carpathian monster for seven years. They DO have some tools at their disposal to deal with those who shit on everything that the EU and civilized liberal democracies stand for. They could suspend Hungary’s vote on Council, they could suspend subsidy payments, the EPP can expel Fidesz from their ranks.

    The EU, its treaties and its principles are not worth the paper they’re written on. Orban is making a mockery of the EU and he is did so again today in the EP. The EU can rot in hell for all I care.

  6. @ Lanark;

    In case Orban is so much oppsed to the EU system and its principles, why has he not yet formed a union, or federation, or whatever may it be called, with all the dissatisfied eastenr block nations?

    They do not well fit nor can compete ,or even go along with the western nations. Forming their own union, as former socialist brothers, and most the former eastern economies, would likely do much better on their old ways. beside it sure would add some hope of keepeing the peace in Europe as a buffer zone between east and west.
    Considering how forcefully Germany, that is today also,as in the past has been the power-house of Europe. It cause two major world wars. Germany’s interest has not change due to her financial and economic conditions.
    So, instead of all these stupid bickering might do something useful to the world ,and interest of world peace.
    And just why not?
    Can any one name some logical and s0ensable reason why not ?
    Please no rudeness, nor name callings !!!

  7. @ Belzebub79

    “In case Orban is so much oppsed (sic) to the EU system and its principles, why has he not yet formed a union, or federation, or whatever may it be called, with all the dissatisfied eastenr (sic) block nations?”

    Because over 90% of the Hungarian government’s national economic development budget is funded by the EU, and approx 25% of that subsidy – which, alone of all EU members, is distributed through Orbán’s office – ends up in the pockets of Orbán’s hand picked oligarchs, like Lőrinc Mészáros. The EU can not police the theft, because it is not empowered to do so. The policing is the responsibility of the Hungarian Prosecutor General, who has turned a blind eye to this highway robbery for the past 7 yrs.

    There is an alternative organization being hammered together by Mr. Putin called the Eurasian Union, and besides Russia, some of the most corrupt dictatorships of the former Soviet Empire have joined it. It may well become Hungary’s next ticket to ride, once the EU funds run out.

    I trust I was suitably polite and did not engage in any name-calling, Mr. Devil. Perhaps you may want to rename yourself, use a gentler, kinder alias, like Fairy79 or Honey Bunch79 ? I could suggest a numerical change as well, but then, whatever turns you on…Just trying to help, as always 🙂

    • You are reaching man… How about the M4 subway theft by the liberal-socialist government uncovered by EU itself?

  8. @Lanark
    First, where do you get the right to label the democratically elected Prime Minister of a country just becaause he is not on the same side as you are.
    Second, why do you think that the “EU and civilized liberal democracies stand for” is the correct position when it comes to the right of EVERY citizen of Europe?
    Third, what do you think is the reason that the “The European Union has tolerated this Carpathian monster for seven years”?
    Fourth, how did you come to the conclusion of “The EU, its treaties and its principles are not worth the paper they’re written on”?
    Fifth, do you know what the original purpose of the established of EU was?

    Now let me help you to with some suggestion to answer the question. In my view:
    First, nobody, and that includes the liberals too, has the right to label the others with such degrading terms as you used, and furthermore, fascist, xenophobe, racists, etc in order to discredit what he or they stand for.
    Second, who has the gavel to proclaim what is right and what is wrong for the people of Europe other than God (if you believe in) and the people themselves. See the proof of it in Brexit. The UK people got fed up with the unelected bureaucrats’ tyranny that was sanctioned by the Social-liberal politicians against the interest of the plebs.
    Third, in my view the reason is because they know he is doing what the MAJORITY of Hungarians expect from him and he shows strength, convictions, wisdom and determination to stand up against the EU unelected bullies.
    Fourth, if you meant it seriously, I agree with you.
    Fifth, it was an economical treaty that has been hijacked by political operators, thus converted it into a great mess.
    And finally an added point if I may: The liberals never learn, they keep using the same tactics even thou they had to witness the ultimate and most compelling proof that it does not work. If you do not agree with someone’s point of you debate the issue on its merit not by character assassination. They can enjoy the result of their unscrupulous miscalculation under the presidency of Donald Trump.

  9. @András B. Göllner
    Your reply to @ Belzebub79 sounds good (as always) but I would like it more if you compared Orban’s handling EU money with Demsky’s, Gyurcsany’s, etc, on both sides, and concluded that Hungarian politicians are alike when it comes to money. At least I see no difference.

    As my understanding is that you were for many years an educator at KÖZGÁZ, whatever its name at the time was – Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences, University of Economics of Budapest, Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, or Corvinus University of Budapest – therefore you have a deeper understanding how the “hand-picked oligarchs” system works in that part of the World.

    Keep up the good work but try to be objective.

    One question I might make and perhaps can expect an educated answer from you:
    Why do the Jewish members of the liberal establishment support the mass importation of their sworn enemies into Europe (and Canada and the USA) whom openly proclaim their goal as the termination of Judaeo-Christian culture and the physical elimination of infidels (meaning firstly Jews) and strive to convert the whole World to their misguided and cruel religion?

  10. @Robert

    (Just to be clear I’m only a high school student in Hungary)

    So today one of my classmate posted a video
    ( https://www.facebook.com/pg/agostonlaszloartist/videos/?ref=page_internal ) on our facebook group (it’s a group made for my class plus for our history teacher).
    So I watched it. The first thing I noticed, that the video only had Guy Verhofstadts speech (which I felt truly offensive – also he must be fantastic platformist).
    Do you know, where can I find the video where he (Orbán) answered to all of this…?

  11. A.B. Gollner 4/27-1;52 pm, wrote;

    ” I trust I was suitably polite and did not engage in any name-calling, Mr.Devil.”

    In case you did not intend that to be “name-calling”, than it had to be your signature;))
    You never change. Do you?
    Perhaps when under the Norway spruce behind the brick walls of the Kremln;))

  12. A.B.Gollner wrote;

    ‘Because Hungary’s 90% of economic development budget is EU funded.’

    So that makes Hungary a nation of 9.5 million koldus ! Depended on had-outs.
    But are you sure you are not counting economic private/corporate investments as EU “development fund” ?

    So, would they not have the goal to be independent, and to live like an adults, not to be fed by some western hand-out ?

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