By !!444!!! InsightHungary!!! (*)
Marking the 44th anniversary of the founding of the European People’s Party, three European leaders including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán took part in a video conference on Wednesday where they laid out their visions for the future of Europe.
The conference, dubbed “Europe Uncensored”, was held by Orbán and his illiberal allies: Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and Serbian President Aleksandar Vu?i?. Orbán praised the leaders as “a special club of freedom fighters and fighters for national sovereignty”.
Orbán repeatedly highlighted East-West conflicts within the European Union, arguing that preservation of the bloc would require nations to “learn to tolerate our differences again.” The West must not force its views on Eastern countries, “and we Central Europeans should not want to tell the Westerners how they should run their countries”, he said.
Three crises have squeezed Europe in the last 12 years which were handled differently by Western countries and those in Central Europe, Orbán said: the 2008 financial crisis, the migration crisis in 2015 and the current coronavirus crisis. Western countries responded by trying to preserve the welfare state, which is “no longer the proper structure that we need”, while Eastern countries tried to preserve the workfare state, he said.
Western Europe attempted to solve its demographic problems by promoting migration, Orbán said, while the countries of Central Europe “did not want to import other civilizations’ problems into our countries”. Orbán also lamented declines in fertility rates and marriages in Europe since 1990, and a decline in defense spending on the continent.
Orbán identified two contesting concepts concerning the future of Europe: a deeply anti-Communist concept based on the “Christian culture which we have inherited”, and a progressive, liberal leftist, “semi-Marxist” concept which promotes multiculturalism, a pro-migration policy, and an anti-family policy. Orbán claimed “they want to get rid of the concept of nations and nation states, and they consider irrelevant the Christian social teachings”, and that some politicians within the EPP had adopted these views.
The European balance of power has been upset by the United Kingdom leaving the bloc, Orbán said, making Germany “once again the strongman of Europe”. This dramatic change in the balance of power means everyone expects Germany to save European integration.
Orbán said that very few politicians active in Europe today were present during the fall of the Soviet Union which “changed the history of the continent”, with the exception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Orbán said he tried unsuccessfully to convince Merkel not to withdraw from politics.
On Wednesday, speaking before the European Parliament on Germany’s plans for its rotating presidency of the Council of Europe, Chancellor Merkel responded to questions from MEPs concerning the EU budget being connected to rule of law criteria. Hungarian MEP Katalin Cseh insisted that the Germany presidency ensure that EU funds go directly to civic organizations rather than “supporting the government that tramples on EU values”.
In response, Merkel said that Germany “certainly stands up for the rule of law” and would engage these issues “even if we’re talking about Viktor Orbán with whom we have disagreements concerning what’s happening in Hungary.”
European Public Prosecutor: office will investigate cases in Hungary even though it has not joined organization (!!444!!! InsightHungary)
European Public Prosecutor Laura Codru?a Kövesi told Euronews on Tuesday that corruption “exists in almost all countries”, and that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) has the authority to investigate criminal cases even in those member states that have not joined the organization.
“It is difficult for me to comment on the reasons why these Member States did not join the EPPO, because, after all, it is a political decision and I cannot comment on that,” Kövesi said. “We will investigate certain offences committed in relation to these Member States, its citizens, or on the territory of these Member States. In addition, we will cooperate with the authorities of these states and will apply the judicial cooperation tools that are currently available.”
Hungary and Poland, the two biggest beneficiaries of EU structural funds, as well as Ireland, Sweden and Denmark, have not joined the EPPO. The European organization set up this year is tasked with investigating and prosecuting crimes affecting the EU budget such as corruption and fraud.
Hungary has refused to join the organization, arguing prosecutorial powers should remain at the national level.
Last year, independent MP and anti-corruption activist Ákos Hadházy launched a petition signed by nearly 700,000 Hungarians demanding that Hungary join the EPPO. Hadházy has argued that chief public prosecutor Péter Polt has launched no major corruption investigations in Hungary, shielding the government from prosecution of corruption cases involving EU funds. Hungary joining the EPPO would circumvent Polt’s authority and expose government officials to external scrutiny.
!!444!!! InsightHungary, is one of the few independent media beyond the control of autocrat Viktor Orbán.