The cabinet chief of the European Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani will speak by phone with Hungary’s ambassador to the EU about the Hungarian government’s national consultation on the “Soros plan”, and Tajani himself will speak to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban next week, at the Social Summit in Gothenburg – an EP spokesperson told Hungarian news agency MTI on Wednesday evening.
The spokesperson made it clear that in contrast to previous news, the President is not “summoning” Hungary’s ambassador. The news the spokesperson referred to originate from a tweet by Guy Verhofstadt, head of the ALDE group:
Socialist Party MEP Istvan Ujhelyi said in a statement that Wednesday’s session of the EP’s Conference of Presidents had touched on the issue of the nationwide public survey on the Soros plan. “Not even the European People’s Party group defended [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban’s circle on this issue,” he said.
Ujhelyi had said he was under the impression that Tajani would summon the Ambassador and speak with Orban by phone to “ask for an explanation” in connection with the “national consultation” survey. “This is a scandal! This is the shame of the Orban government,” he said.
The Government Information Centre reacted by saying that the EP had decided to “defend [US financier] George Soros and the Soros plan”. It said that under the EP’s decision, EU member states — especially those that had yet to take in any migrants — would be mandated to take in migrants without an upper limit.
“In line with Soros’ intentions, NGOs would also be included in the relocation procedures while family reunifications would be made easier,” the centre insisted. They said it was regrettable that Brussels had “taken the side of a billionaire over the European people” and that Ujhelyi and Democratic Coalition MEP Peter Niedermuller were “assisting with this”.
Government hits back at Verhofstadt
Cabinet office state secretary Csaba Dömötör has hit back at EP liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt’s recent criticism of the Hungarian government’s “national consultation” public survey on the so-called Soros plan, dismissing it as “part of a regular attempt” to pressurise Hungary. Dömötör reacted to social media postings by Verhofstadt in which he calls on Brussels to make clear that campaigns like the government’s survey are incompatible with European Union values. In a Facebook entry posted on Tuesday, Verhofstadt slammed the campaign as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “populist quest to reinforce his autocratic rule by generating fear”. “Mobilising citizens against an alleged external threat, just months ahead of parliamentary elections, targeting [US financier] Mr [George] Soros in person, is disgusting,” said Verhofstadt, adding that it reminded him of “the worst times of European history”.
Speaking to MTI, Dömötör said:
“The reality is that the liberal politician who regularly lectures Hungary clearly supports the proposals that the consultation is about.”
The state secretary noted that Verhofstadt had called on Hungary before last year’s referendum on EU migrant quotas to vote “yes” for the resettlement of migrants in Hungary. He said that after this it was “gravely impudent” of Verhofstadt to deny the “plans” referenced in the survey. Dömötör also argued that Verhofstadt’s call for the EU to condemn the survey went against the freedom of expression. All Hungarians have a right to express their thoughts on “the completely irrational and risky relocation plans”. He said Verhofstadt’s “offensive remarks” only gave Hungarians further reason to take part in the survey. If Verhofstadt truly cared about democratic values, he, too, would ask the European people what they think about illegal migration and migrant relocation plans, Dömötör said.