Fidesz condemns European Commission, Soros over “mafia state” speech

June 2, 2017

Photo: European Commission

Fidesz has condemned critical statements made Thursday by Hungarian-American financier George Soros at the Brussels Economic Forum, and is protesting against the forum’s host, the European Commission, reports.

The governing party’s deputy delegation leader Gergely Gulyás called it “intolerable” that such statements could be made at an event sponsored by the EC and in the presence of an EU commissioner. In his speech, Soros referred to Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as a “mafia state,” and defended himself against what he called an “unrelenting propaganda campaign” by the Orbán government.

“How does the commission wish to apply its own standards against Hungary when it gives space for such intolerable statements?” Gulyás asked at a press conference Friday, adding that his party awaits an answer from the commission in which he hoped the EC would “make it clear that this kind of action is unacceptable.”

Gulyás then seemed to give credence to some of the very statements Soros made in his speech by repeating the Fidesz claim that the billionaire seeks to change Hungary’s migration policy, with the support of Brussels, in order to clear the way for the mass importation of migrants into Europe.

(Soros mocked Orbán in his speech by saying, “[Orbán] casts himself as the defender of Hungarian sovereignty and me as a currency speculator who uses his money to flood Europe…particularly his native Hungary…with illegal immigrants as part of some vague but nefarious plot.”)

Minister in charge of the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár also shot back at Soros’ statements Thursday, when he said in a press briefing that “these [civil] organizations, financed by George Soros, have operated like mafia,” referring to NGOs operating in Hungary that are partially financed by Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

Fidesz has submitted a controversial draft bill which would crack down on NGOs that receive more than HUF 7.2 million annually from foreign sources. Some critics see the bill as an attempt to specifically target organizations funded by Soros and to stigmatize civil society groups that do work contrary to the government’s agenda.