Campaign to expel Fidesz from the European People’s Party

You might think Germany’s leading Christian Democrat parties have little to prove regarding their commitment to democratic values. But there is a serious gap: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its closest coalition partner the Christian Social Union (CSU) have yet to vigorously challenge the rights-damaging policies of their ally, Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

The silence of the European People’s Party (EPP), the umbrella of center-right parties in European institutions to which CDU, CSU as well as Hungary’s Fidesz belong, has only emboldened Orbán at home and abroad. It’s time for the CDU and the CSU to seriously reconsider their ties with Orbán’s Fidesz before it further damages democracy in Europe.

Photo credit: Alexandros Michailidis

Fidesz is relentlessly using populist, xenophobic campaigns, and smearing journalists and nongovernmental organizations that expose rights violations and high-level corruption. The vilification of Hungarian-born philanthropist and billionaire George Soros – declared public enemy number one now for years – is part of wider Fidesz’s efforts to slur critics and reduce space for debate.

Right after the recent legislative election, pro-government weekly Figyelő published a list of 200 academics, journalists and civil society actors and labelled them ‘Soros mercenaries’. The list included staff members of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International, the anti-corruption organization Transparency International and others.

In the past two years, the Hungarian government adopted laws aimed at silencing critics. A 2017 law requires nongovernmental organizations receiving foreign funding to register as a foreign-funded organization or face sanctions – a provision inspired by Russia’s ‘Foreign Agent’ Law. Hungary’s government looks set to fulfil Orbán’s campaign pledge to pass a new legislative package aimed at hindering nongovernmental organizations working on migration and curb their access to funds. Parliament is just starting its general debate on the draft bills.

Last week, the Open Society Foundation, an organization funded by Soros which has been distributing grants to local nongovernmental organizations for decades decided to move its international operations from Budapest to Berlin citing the “increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary.”

CDU and CSU leaders now have a choice: Either they tolerate Fidesz’s abusive ideology and let it spread within the EPP umbrella; or they decide to reject Fidesz and take the lead in suspending the party from their European platform. With the campaign we launch today, we call on them to protect democracy and European values: it’s high time to ExpelFidesz from EPP.

Wenzel Michalski and Philippe Dam

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Wenzel Michalski is the German Director of Human Rights Watch and Philippe Dam is the organization’s Advocacy Director.

14 Comments

  1. I’m afraid, the CDU, the CSU and the European Parliament’s People Party alliance is suffering from the same gutless, self-destructive disease as the US Republican Party – for the sake of political expediency, they are willing to overlook the affinity fraud being perpetrated upon the body politic of the Euro Atlantic community of nations by a globally ascendant gang of corrupt, self-serving, rule-of-law violating autocrats. Justice, constitutional governance and sustainable economic development means nothing to these autocrats, whose political capital and power stems from their ability to harness the forces of public ignorance and frustration with the world around them.

  2. It’s high time since 8 years already.

    But instead of kicking them out of EPP, the CSU people and few CDU politicians from East-Germany start to copy Orbáns’ populism.

    CSU recently ordered to hang christian crosses into the entrance area of public buildings in Bavaria and started debates about Christian values and that Islam doesn’t belong to Germany.

    Manfred Weber, faction leader of EPP, is an Orbán admirer, just as Orbáns “friend” Seehofer.

    They just don’t value democracy. It’s easier to stay in power using populism, spreading hate and split the people. More and more politicians who take the Mafia boss as a model. Merkel, as always keeps her lips tight. Nobody (except Macron) really fights for democracy!

  3. Bendeguz79 says:

    Philonthropist is a person who gives part of his/her wealth without any attachments whatsoever to organizations to finance mainly humanitarian works.

    Mr Soros does NOT follow that line, therefore can not be considered philanthropist.
    He is actually a financier, a money-exchanger, or by the old biblical term “money-trader”.

    Open Society is not a philanthropical organization, but a political organization. With strictly political goals, and with world-wide political goals.

    He directs that very organization,. He himself set all the political goals of that organization.
    Therefore it is not an independent organization.

    He is the torch-bearer of global financial interests to control the global economy.

    Best evidence to back up the above statements is that he has not given mentionable donations to Hungary’s Universities, nor stipends to sizable number of poor-Hungarian students, at wide-ranging institutions to train the badly needed leaders of Hungary’s future innovators, industrial pioneers,etc. but only set up his own institution to train and advance his political goals.

    That is the strong reason why he locked horns with the government. That alone is a political involvement.

    Of cause, it is his personal right and his own money, but that way it is no surprise that he run into strong opposition world-wide.

    On the subject of today’s FIDESz being in association with foreign political parties that are not at all on the same denominator, is just like a bad comedy-show.
    Let the chips fall where they belong !
    On the end it will all works out the way it suppose to.
    In the meanwhile, just sit back and watch the show .

  4. KlebelsbergKK says:

    As it is usually happens in different ‘PC’medias the definitions are pretty well messed up -like in this article-
    How do you define a ‘populist’ , ‘fascist’, ‘xenophobe’ ?
    The old communists/’socialists’ leaders (Lenin, Stalin, Honecker, Rosa Luxemburg , Béla Kuhn, Rákosi, Ceaucescu and their redhanded comrades ) named their opponents ‘fascist’, ‘nazi’, ‘xenophobe’,…
    Are you following this ‘old-school’ terminology ?

    If the european nations are electing leaders for their proper defend , immediatly they become stupid, uneducated ?

    George Soros (a neo-marxist “philantrop” ) instead of investing insitu in education, technological development in Africa, Asia, Arabia – in demographically booming regions – wants to import those people in Europe and this way changing the population of Europe. Who is he ? Is he the God ?
    You mean it is a ‘vilification’ if people are openly speaking about it ?

    Nobody can critize him ? And if somebody makes a critic immediatly becomes ‘xenophobe’, ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, ‘illiberal dictator’,… ?

    This is disgusting. It is a perverted way of thinking.

    George Soros (a neo-marxist “philantrop” ) instead of investing insitu in education, technological development in Africa, Asia, Arabia – in demographically booming regions – wants to import those people in Europe and this way changing the population of Europe. Who is he ? Is he the God ?
    Nobody can critize him ? And if somebody makes a critic immediatly becomes ‘xenophobe’, ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, ‘illiberal dictator’,… ?

    This is disgusting. It is a perverted way of thinking.

    • Reality Check says:

      Calling Soros a neo-marxist is about as ill-informed about the man as you can get. You complan about ad hominem attacks and by lableing Soros, who is clearly a captitalist, a Marxist you engage in the most rediculous form of name calling.

      His Open Society foundation is involved in investments in all the areas you mentioned. In addition, he is one of the top investors in Afria in the past few decades. Your comments are based on ignorance.

      And if you don’t want to be labled a bigot, then don’t use a screen name that can be abreviated as KKK.

    • pantanifan says:

      “Who is he ? Is he the God ? Nobody can critize him ?”

      You’re welcome to criticize him as much as you like, but do you think it’s right to run a massive political campaign at taxpayer’s expense against an 87-year old man (I’m not Hungarian but have paid taxes in Hungary for more than 20 years).
      He’s not God and neither is Orbán…

      • You left out the other side of the equation. Do you think it is right for an 87 year old man to commit $18 billion to influencing the political environment in countless countries, including Hungary? His organizations are called “civil society”, but there is nothing civil about this. Color revolutions which mostly destroyed countries. One of the latest ones he and his organizations participated in was Maidan, leaving Ukraine with a GDP/capita that is only half of what it was in 2013, and so are wages. You forget that first came the endless meddling and then came the push-back we are seeing not only in Hungary, but in many other countries where he decided he wants to shape the future of those countries according to his own desires. Well, there are some rumors circulating that it is not only his own desires, but that of the CIA.

        http://futurefastforward.com/2017/01/27/trump-quietly-orders-pompeo-to-sever-all-cia-ties-with-george-soros/

        • pantanifan says:

          I don’t believe Soros is responsible for what happened in Ukraine but we’re not going to agree on that. I presume you would prefer this situation to have continued in Ukraine? – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/31/ukraines-fallen-leader-viktor-yanukovych-paid-bribes-of-2-billio/
          If Mr. Soros is investing his own money in Hungary for his own private reasons and abiding by the country’s laws, then I’m happy with that. The government on the other hand is spending my tax forints to tell me what I should think about Mr. Soros.
          I may be right and I may be wrong, but prefer to decide for myself than to see government propaganda telling me what to think on every street corner

          • I would love to continue to debate this with you, but this site has a very “unique” view on free speech, where sometimes (rather often) some of us get censored, as I just did in this conversation. So, congrats, you win the argument. The “correct” view on things prevails!

      • Pantanifan
        Our ill educated in history (or lying) fascists here are claiming that Orbán has the right to meddle in Slovenian politics (and other neighboring countries) spending 1.5 mi euro, (or dozens more, respectively), but Soros or others cannot do so to promote democracy, transparency and rule of law which they don’t want. Talking about double standards.
        Their other absurd line is that while it was OK for Orbán to conduct “a revolution at the polling booth” (ie. an incremental coup d’stats) the once subjugated populace should keep quiet and docile in the System of Nat Cooperation (ie. the quasi dictatorship) lest there would be disorder.

  5. The CSU/ CSU sheltering a quasi fascist party/regime (an integral unit by now) is a typical example of short sighted, four year lifespan unprincipled politics. As a rule such politics are suicidal in the medium to long term and the examples abound: from the post WWI econ policies to Munich 1938 to Argentina’s ruin to the current German (and others’) inaction. I would venture to say that this course already destabilizes and has the potential to destroy the EU as we know it, endangering democracy and consequently the security of Europe, Germany included.

  6. Pingback: Campaign launched to lobby Merkel into kicking Orbán out of EU group - newsfinding

  7. StrandedinSopron says:

    Orban was “summoned” by the EPP big wigs, Webber, Daul et al for a “Really, old boy, you should start to play the game or we will be forced to…ermm…well, really criticise you in public” *warning*.

    In particular they set 2 “red lines” over which he must not step- the attempted shutting down of civil society (or at least that part of it dealing with corruption, media and judicial independence and yes, migration) and the expulsion of the CEU.

    Rogan, the Capo of the 5th District Fidesz and Orban’s right=hand man, taunted back at the EPP, “You need our votes”. Of course, both the attac k on civil society and the CEU has even intensified.

    The fact is that the EPP do need Fidesz votes and have given them carte blanche over the last 8 years to create a one-party state. Moreover, when one looks at, for example, events in Italy it can be seen that Orban and his “philosophy” is not on its own in even Western Europe.

    Next year, neo-nazi, racist and fascist parties will do well, maybe very well in the EU elections. For people of this ilk, Orban is a spiritual leader- the “little” (in more ways than one) man fighting back against the gays, *blacks*, Jews, gypsies and liberals. Orban’s position within the EU can only strengthen certainly in the short-term and that is why the EPP will continue to roll up the white flag

  8. What goes up, eventually comes down. The rise of neo-fascism in Europe is not likely to last for ever – its marriage with artificial intelligence, however, should cause one to reflect.

    The rise of neo-fascism in Europe is a recurring phenomenon. The last time it happened was after WWI, and that ascendancy, as the one we are witnessing today, is due, primarily to the inability of the European, liberal democratic establishment to manage change. Karl Polányi and many others have pointed this out in connection with the first episode. We managed to avoid Armageddon by beating Hitler to the nuclear bomb. In the era of artificial intelligence, and increasingly rapid (hence publicly incomprehensible technological change) we may not be so lucky. The glorification of the working classes and Marxist ideology, or of unregulated markets, are off the shelf antidotes that belong in the dustbin of history. Humanity is at a new crossing – the problem is, we are flying by the seats of its pants, and the captains quarters are increasingly populated by the likes of congenital liars, fraud-artists like Trump, and his friends in Hungary, Russia, China.

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