Hungary tells EPP it won’t repeat its mistakes

Hungarian MEPs: “We find the Western straightjacketed, dull political language sometimes appalling and meaningless, unable to express the existing differences.” [European People's Party/Flickr]

Hungarian centre-right MEPs sent a letter to the European People’s Party (EPP) saying that Budapest will do politics its own way and won’t adopt the typically technocratic language that makes politicians lose elections in the West.

Today (26 April), Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán will speak in the European Parliament, where it is rumoured he will explain recent developments in his country.

In the light of these events, the MEPs note that increasing pressure is being placed on the EPP by European public media, the liberal-left and universities.

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The reason for this letter, according to the lawmakers, is to provide firsthand background information about what’s going on in Hungary and help the EPP understand the situation “without the steady political bias the European mainstream press has exercised constantly against Hungary and our prime minister”.

They call Victor Orbán the “vanguard of political innovation” and noted that the Fidesz party is one of the major forces that transformed the country into a European democracy.

The letter also focuses on the economic success of the Orbán government which led to zero inflation and low unemployment levels.

In addition, the MEPs stress that their intention is not to “destroy” the EU and that Orban is a “committed” European.

“When we criticise certain measures of the institutions, we do it for the sake of making it better, to help it survive the blows,” they emphasise, adding that they are far from those who wish to dismantle the EU.

Straightforward language

The Hungarian lawmakers also stressed that unlike Western Europe, the language of politicians in the country is “straightforward”.

“We find the Western straightjacketed, dull political language sometimes appalling and meaningless, unable to express the existing differences,” they said, adding that this language helps widen the gap between the political class and the people.

“But please do not try to make us speak to the public in the bureaucratic, scientific language like bankers or technocrats do, because we will lose our political support,” the letter pleas.

Greens confirmed on NGOs

Regarding the much-discussed Hungarian law on NGOs, the MEPs stress that they want civil society organisations to participate in political life; however, they must declare who is financing them and have the same rules like politicians, political parties and the press.

Markus Pieper, a German lawmaker from the EPP-affiliated Christian Democratic Union (CDU), recently presented an own-initiative report in the European Parliament urging stricter regulation of EU-funded NGOs.

euractiv.com was informed that the 31 April deadline to submit amendments on the report was postponed, and next week the coordinators of the Parliament’s Budget Committee will meet to discuss the next deadline or postpone the report as a whole.

Greens denounce ‘Hungary-style’ attack against EU-funded NGOs

Green Members of the European Parliament have urged the European People’s Party (EPP) to withdraw a “Hungary-style report” about EU-funded NGOs and stop attempts to silence them.

Green MEPs recently attacked the report and Pieper personally and said that it was similar to Hungary’s NGO law.

In their letter, the Hungarian MEPs seem to confirm it.

“This is the same what we are trying to do here in the European Parliament with the Pieper report, for instance,” the MEPs observe.

The Soros case

Referring to the George Soros case and the Central European University, they note that no one wants to close it.

“In a calmer moment, the rector of the university, Canadian liberal professor Michael Ignatieff also admitted this, as he had done in a letter addressed recently to its staff and students stating that nothing is threatening our university,” they emphasised.

Hungarian university president: ‘I need the support of Europe’

The head of a Budapest university pressured by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán appealed to Brussels for help yesterday (25 April), a day before the European Commission will announce infringement procedures against Hungary, and when Orbán will address MEPs.

The MEPs continue, explaining that the new regulation applies to 28 universities and only requires common standards to be fulfilled and “stop the situation that some non-EU universities enjoy greater business advantages than the European ones”.

Speaking at a conference yesterday (25 April) in Brussels organised by 5 political parties including the EPP, Ignatieff appeals to Brussels for help. However, Soros’ name is not mentioned in the 40-minute hearing.

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