European leaders call for sanctions against Hungary over anti-LGBT law
By Justin Spike – !!444!!!
Numerous European politicians have recommended
cutting EU funding to Hungary in response to recent legislation widely
seen as limiting the rights of Hungary’s LGBT community
interior minister Horst Seehofer suggested this week that cutting
Hungary’s access to EU funds could be a suitable response to the law which prohibits the
display to minors of content depicting homosexuality or gender
Seehofer, who had previously defended Prime Minister Viktor
Orbán’s policies on issues such as treatment of refugees, said that the law had
“gone too far,” and “violates central values of the European
must not and will not accept this,” Seehofer told German
newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine.
On Wednesday, Clément Beaune, the French Minister for
European Affairs, told RTL Radio that he too supported sanctioning Hungary over
the law, but added that like French President Emmanuel Macron, he would not
support the expulsion of Hungary from the EU – something Dutch Prime Minister
Mark Rutte suggested last week.
In a joint letter Thursday, four groups in the European
Parliament wrote to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calling on the Commission to reject Hungary’s draft plan for
use of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), a €672.5 billion
package of loans and grants meant to assist member states in post-pandemic
The four groups – the Greens, Socialists and Democrats,
Renew Europe and The Left – recommended withholding Hungary’s funds “in
the light of serious concerns and the ongoing deterioration of Rule of Law in
Directly referencing the recent law affecting LGBT people,
the letter called on the Commission “to carefully assess every
measure…to guarantee that the Union spending for the implementation of the
Hungarian RRP would not lead in any case to the Union actively contributing to
any breach of fundamental rights in Hungary.”
In the letter, Klára Dobrev (Democratic Coalition), András
Fekete-Gy?r (Momentum), Péter Jakab (Jobbik), Gergely Karácsony (Dialogue) and
József Pálinkás (Új Világ Néppárt) wrote that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had
“made it clear that he intends to lead Hungary out of the European Union”
at a meeting of the Council of Europe last week.
“Viktor Orbán has no mandate to drive a wedge between our
country and the European Union, and he cannot make senseless proposals to
dismantle or paralyze our common European institutions in the name of our
people,” the candidates wrote, adding that the majority of Hungarians are
in favor of EU membership.
The candidates promised EU leaders that if the
six-party opposition coalition defeats Orbán and his Fidesz party at elections
in 2022, Hungary will immediately join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office,
be a loyal member of the EU and NATO, “end discrimination against
minorities”, and put an end to “hate campaigns.”
Orbán earlier outlined his vision for the future of the EU,
saying in a speech that the European Parliament should consist of delegates from
national parliaments, that national governments should be able to suspend the
EU’s legislative process, and that the phrase “ever closer union”
should be deleted from the Treaty of the European Union.
€185,000 in six weeks on YouTube campaign ads
For the last month and a half, YouTube users in Hungary have
met with political ads placed by the ruling Fidesz party on nearly every
occasion that they open the video streaming site.
The ads depict former Socialist prime minister Ferenc
Gyurcsány as the mastermind behind Hungary’s six-party opposition coalition
that seeks to defeat Fidesz and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in national
elections in 2022. The ads, with titles such as “The Gyurcsány Show”
and “Karácsony = 99% Gyurcsány,” portray opposition prime ministerial
candidates like Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony as puppets of the former prime
Telex.hu reports that according to statistics on YouTube
political ads kept by Google, Fidesz spent more than HUF 65 million (€186,800)
in six weeks on the ads. Records on political advertising on the site have been
kept since March 2019, since which time 2,601 Hungarian-language political ads
have been placed at a total cost of HUF 114 million.
(*) — Justin Spike is an independent
journalist and fixer based in Budapest. He was the managing editor of the
Budapest Beacon, an independent, English-language news portal dedicated to
Hungarian politics and economy. He run InsightHungary in partnership with local
news website 444.hu. He have done fixing work for Financial Times, France24,
Aftenbladet, Heartland TV, and Princeton University. — !!444!!!
InsightHungary, is one of the few independent media beyond the
control of autocrat Viktor Orbán.